Archaeological Surveys in Light of New Technologies

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

The focus of the session is to reflect on the nature of information that is/can be captured through archaeological survey, and to explore the interpretative challenges and opportunities that survey information offer beyond simply 'identifying sites'. We will address these questions in light of the ever increasing adoption of information and computing technology, both, in the field and in the lab. Does the adoption of new technology open up new research venues? Are we applying these technologies to resolve old questions perhaps in a more efficient and expeditious manner? Can we identify common trends, and more importantly, gaps in our patterns of use? At which stage of the survey process is technology being used most (e.g. planning, conducting, processing)? How well suited is current technology for the rigors of the field? What aspects of technology (e.g. battery power, processing, connectivity, user interface) are most critical and in what way? To what extent these, and similar questions, open new interpretative opportunities?

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-8 of 8)

  • Documents (8)

  • Automated archaeological feature extraction from LiDAR. (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Florencia Pezzutti. Christopher Fisher. Conrad Albrecht. Sharathchandra Pankanti. Francesca Rossi.

    Here we present preliminary results from a collaborative project between archaeologists and IBM research scientists focused on developing a cost-efficient algorithm for the automated recognition of archaeological features (objects) from LiDAR data. Our research focuses on challenges of: 1) multidisciplinary work integrating expertise from diverse disciplines, 2) identifying complex archaeological features in the context of a dense urban site in a rugged topographic setting, and 3) developing a ...

  • Getting More from Survey: a Case Study from the Western Mediterranean (Mallorca, Spain) (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only David Hunt. Marcos Llobera. Jacob Deppen.

    In this paper we present preliminary results of three campaigns of intensive survey carried out as part of the ongoing Landscape, Encounters and Identity project being undertaken in the NE of the island of Mallorca (Spain). The project is uniquely situated to explore the confluence of various archaeological evidence (surface scatters, LiDAR, 3D photogrammetric models) and the interpretative challenges these pose. Our paper here will focus primarily on the results recovered through intensive...

  • Integrating LiDAR with Pedestrian Survey at the Ancient City of Angamuco, Michoacán, Mexico (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Rodrigo Solinis-Casparius. Anna S. Cohen. Christopher T. Fisher.

    Remote sensing techniques have enhanced studies of ancient urbanism particularly because they have improved the speed of data collection and our abilities to identify the extent of urban sites. Data derived from airborne laser scanning such as LiDAR have been rapidly incorporated to study settlement patterns in order to accelerate the survey process, but also to produce innovative and higher quality data. In this paper, we discuss the use of LiDAR and traditional pedestrian survey data at...

  • New Technologies in Feature Recording for Archaeological Surveys: Potential and Challenges (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Murray.

    Archaeological landscapes are complex three-dimensional environments, containing not only cadastral survey units and evidence of sites in the form of artifact scatters, but also anomalous topographical features and standing architectural remains of a variety of periods, types, and states of preservation. The time-consuming nature of careful architectural recording and the difficulty of acquiring the high-quality geodata required for a proper architectural survey in the remote countryside have...

  • A Paradigm Shift in Regional Archaeology? (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alex Knodell.

    The pace and scale of technological change in field- and lab-based applications in remote sensing, spatial sciences, and digital media (to name only a few) have fundamentally transformed archaeological research design and practice, especially on a regional level. But have these technological advances changed the discipline in ways that might constitute a paradigm shift? Have they resulted in new disciplinary priorities? Or do they simply represent newer, faster ways to pursue agendas not so...

  • Reconsidering "sites," "features," and "landscapes" in the Maya Lowlands with remote sensing and ground-based survey (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Omar Alcover. Charles Golden. Andrew Scherer.

    Etic distinctions between "sites" and "landscape features" and the limits of pedestrian survey have long influenced how scholars in the Maya lowlands model social and political dynamics of the region. The adoption of remote sensing technologies, particularly LiDAR, has improved our ability to identify anthropogenic features over wider areas. Yet remote sensing data collection remains centered on known "sites" and data serving to further expand the mapped boundaries of ancient "cities,"...

  • Site-seeing: Aeriality, Archaeological Survey and Objectivity in Coastal Peru (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Parker VanValkenburgh.

    Far from being mana from the future, aerial imagery has been integral to both the practical and conceptual dimensions of archaeological survey almost from its inception. In this presentation, I argue that aerial photography captured via private and state-funded reconnaissance in the 1930’s and 40’s played a transformational role in the emergence of regional approaches in Peru’s desert coast in the mid 20th century. I discuss how the use of aerial imagery has both enabled and constrained the...

  • Sites, landscapes, and survey intensity in the South Caucasus: the evolution of landscape archaeology approaches in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Emily Hammer. Dan Lawrence.

    In the last decade, the number of landscape archaeology projects in South Caucasia has dramatically increased. South Caucasia geographically and disciplinarily sits between two early centers of survey archaeology (Near East and Mediterranean), each with its own methodologies and primary questions. The mountainous landscapes of South Caucasia, the high degree of population mobility in many periods, and the extent of Soviet land engineering challenge archaeologists to develop hybrid survey...