Sub-Pixel Detection of Obsidian and Pottery by NASA Satellite and Aircraft Data

Author(s): Paul Buck; Donald Sabol

Year: 2017


We determine the detection limits of sub-pixel artifacts (site midden, obsidian artifacts, and pottery) using airborne and spaceborne image data. Research results are presented from the Glass Mountain Site in northern CA and the Boquillas site in southern Arizona. Multiple visits were made at different seasons over three years. Visible, SWIR, and TIR spectral characteristics of targets and background were measured in the field. A spectral library has been constructed from ~200 target and background samples. The average density of these artifacts (per m2) has been calculated for 25 8 x 8 m squares and 10 4 x 4 m squares. Image data include: NASA’s MODIS/ASTER airborne simulator (MASTER) imaging system, the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS), and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER). We (1) determined the detection limits of obsidian and ceramic artifacts at the sub-pixel scale; (2) examined the influence of background, seasonal vegetation change and other on-site changes on the detectability of these artifact types; (3) established the instrumentation, spatial scale, and spectral bands needed to improve the detectability; and (4) tested predictions of new locations for obsidian artifacts at specific (spatial) densities in other image scenes and ground truthed these predictions.

Cite this Record

Sub-Pixel Detection of Obsidian and Pottery by NASA Satellite and Aircraft Data. Paul Buck, Donald Sabol. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429708)

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min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17344