Earth Observation for Archaeology in Arid Lands

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

Nowadays, the use of geospatial technologies in archaeology is widespread among archaeologists. Arid lands, characterized by patchy and scarce vegetation, low urbanization, and excellent visibility of archaeological remains, are an ideal scenario for the application of non-destructive, non-invasive, and cost-effective investigations based on remotely sensed data. In this session, we wish to bring together researchers working on world's arid lands, to share results, issues, and perspectives on Earth Observation for archaeology in hot and cold deserts and semi-deserts. We aim at fostering the debate around remote techniques to the archaeology of arid landscapes, gathering papers addressing multi-proxy approaches for the reconstruction of past human-environment interactions by means of geospatial technologies. No limit is set on the geographic nor chronological contexts.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-6 of 6)

  • Documents (6)

  • Drones in the desert: Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle (UAV) survey in the Black Desert, Jordan (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Austin Hill. Yorke Rowan.

    Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and photogrammetry provide a precise tool for high resolution surveys of arid landscapes. In 2016, as part of the Eastern Badia Archaeological Project, we undertook a large survey (32 km2) in the remote Black Desert of eastern Jordan. Although excavation has been ongoing in the survey area for several years, many extant Neolithic structures have not been properly mapped or identified because of the large number of structures and the large scale of the area. For...

  • Endangered Archaeology in Arid Lands: Remote Sensing and Heritage Management (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nichole Sheldrick.

    The Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa Project (EAMENA) uses satellite imagery to record damage and threats to the heritage of the MENA region. We are recording these data in an open-access database to create a useful platform for the management and protection of heritage in these countries. A remote-sensing approach to heritage management has many advantages and is particularly effective in the arid MENA region due to limited vegetation and development. The availability...

  • Looking for green grass in the desert: methods for land-cover classification in drylands (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Francesc C. Conesa. Agustin Lobo. Stefano Biagetti. Marco Madella.

    In recent years, applications of Earth Observation for archaeology have been boosted by data acquisition and by the increased spatial and temporal resolution of new products (e.g. Sentinel-2, WorldView series, Pléiades mission). Nowadays, archaeologists are looking for ways to effectively merge multi-spatial and multi-temporal imagery, integrating spectral and contextual information as well. In arid lands, the lack of adequate data on long-term vegetation dynamics is hampering our capacity of...

  • Remote Sensing for Late Holocene Archaeology in Central Sahara: A Multi-Scalar Approach (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stefano Biagetti. Stefania Merlo. Elhadi Adam. Francesc C. Conesa. Enrico Crema.

    At the end of the African Humid Period (c. 5000 years ago), the Sahara become dry. Yet, in spite of the onset of current arid conditions, human societies found successful strategies to cope with reduced rainfall and patchy natural resources. Archaeological evidence from the arid Sahara, dated from the last five millennia, can be studied by means of Earth Observation techniques. In this paper, we will present the results of our research from central Sahara, aimed at the remote reconstruction of...

  • A Satellite Remote Sensing Model for the Ancient Traffic in Upper Mesopotamia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tuna Kalayci.

    Roads reflect motivations and needs behind many relations of past societies; they imposed spatial order on agricultural production, enabled transportation of bulk-goods, and mediated hegemonic power. Considered not only as the container of action, but also the action itself, the road has much more to say on the ancient movement praxis. This study focuses on Bronze Age roads (hollow ways) in Upper Mesopotamia. At this space-time, the movement embedded within production economies contributed to...

  • There's Sand in the Sensor! EO approaches to interpreting delta-desert transitional environments (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Steve Markofsky.

    The complex boundary regions between deltas and deserts pose particular difficulties for archaeological enquiry. In these regions, the dynamic interactions between aeolian and alluvial processes result in continuously changing hydrosocial landscapes that manifest over a range of spatio-temporal analytical scales. The wealth of tools, methodologies and theoretical approaches offered by the burgeoning field of remote sensing can help to deconstruct complex and often visually obstructed human...