Aerial Remote Sensing Techniques in Archeology


Today the term remote sensing is generally understood as a technique for the acquisition of environmental data by means of non-contact instruments operating in various regions of the electromagnetic spectrum from air and space platforms. The resultant information may be in the form of a pictorial record or digitized data on tape. In a larger context, however, remote sensing can be considered as a discipline in and of itself with its own peculiar methods, objectives and goals. In this connotation, it is more fully understood as "an entire system including data acquisition, data reduction, interpretation and explanation" (Gumerman and Lyons, 1971:126). The papers presented in this compilation were selected to expand upon this broader concept and to demonstrate some of the applications and limitations of such a system to archeological research. The organization of this volume was designed to provide a connected sequence of papers beginning with background information in a survey of electromagnetic sensing instruments currently employed in the field of remote sensing. Following this are an analysis of the overall potential of remote sensing for archeology, a selection of illustrative studies in widely different environmental settings including the sub-arctic, temperate, semi-arid, sub-tropical and marine zones, and finally a wrap-up discussion of research planning, theory, data sources, materials, and economics of remote sensing in archeology.

Perhaps the most singular aspect of remote sensing is not the system as just mentioned but rather its perspective for inquiry comparable in its probing capabilities and revelations to that of the microscope or the telescope. Other scientific disciplines have historically utilized remote sensing's instrumental and perspective capabilities to a fuller extent in research than have the archeologists who until recently employed aerial photography, for instance, principally as a tool of exploration and discovery. Important as this usage has been and will continue to be, other remote sensing potentialities for measurement, interpretation and explanation are being pursued with interest and vigor in anthropological science (Vogt, 1969; Vogt, ed., 1974; Lyons et al, 1972). Basically, it is recognized that this expanded use is methodologically feasible since not all archeological data is buried or hidden in the ground and retrievable only with the spade and trowel. Rather, the physical re- cords of man's past activities and behavior are often still legible in alterations he left behind on the surface.

Cite this Record

Aerial Remote Sensing Techniques in Archeology. James I. Ebert, Melvin L. Fowler, George J. Gumerman, Elmer Jr. Harp, Laurence D. Kruckman, Thomas R. Lyons, Allan D. Marmelstein, William Meyer, Gary W. North, Henry T. Svehlak, Louis James Tartaglia, John A. Ware, Robert K. Hitchcock, Thomas R. Lyons, Robert K. Hitchcock. Reports of Chaco Center ,Number 2. Albuquerque, NM: Ntaional Parks Service. 1977 ( tDAR id: 178384) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8251HH4

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -108.43; min lat: 35.55 ; max long: -107.287; max lat: 36.386 ;

Record Identifiers

NADB document id number(s): 2155470

NADB citation id number(s): 000000010346


General Note: Lyons, Thomas R.

General Note: Ware, John A.

General Note: Hitchcock, Robert K.

General Note: Gumerman, George J.

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