From the sky to the Andes: intersection between traditional survey and satellite multispectral analysis

Author(s): Gabriela Ore Menendez; Zachary Chase

Year: 2017


In recent years, the use of multispectral imagery has become increasingly important in archaeological research, site detection, and classification of site functions. As the use of these images becomes more common, we must test their accuracy in order to assess their utility and potential problems with their uncritical application. In this presentation we examine the advantages and limitations of using multispectral imagery as a general survey tool. First, we use multispectral imagery from the region of Huarochirí in the Peruvian highlands to conduct a preliminary analysis of the landscape using ENVI software to identify and classify agricultural landscape features and other archaeological sites. We then compare the results of this analysis with areal data collected through traditional pedestrian survey techniques. This methodological exercise allows discussion of the ways traditional field methods and newer technologies can complement one another and ways archaeologists can be more critical in using multispectral imagery. In the case of the Peruvian highlands, critical evaluation of the utility of multispectral imagery for reconstructing archaeological landscapes is particularly important because the highlands’ difficult topography can pose challenges to traditional pedestrian survey, limiting the representation of these landscapes in archaeological research.

Cite this Record

From the sky to the Andes: intersection between traditional survey and satellite multispectral analysis. Gabriela Ore Menendez, Zachary Chase. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430286)

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Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17254