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There's Sand in the Sensor! EO approaches to interpreting delta-desert transitional environments

Author(s): Steve Markofsky

Year: 2017

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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 geographical landscapes. Arid-margin EO approaches have increasingly incorporated multispectral imagery, thermal IR imagery, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and high-resolution UAV-based photography and photogrammetry to deconstruct marginal and transitional landscapes, and to highlight the implications for those societies who inhabited them, as well as the modern-day researchers who seek to understand them.

This paper presents a set of EO techniques to examine hydrosocial landscapes in the distal zone of the endorheic Murghab delta in Turkmenistan, and the potential to deconstruct these types of environments using aerial and satellite-based sensing techniques. Using an integrated approach, the paper evaluates the effectiveness of multispectral analysis, thermal imagery, landscape morphometry, UAV based imagery, classification algorithms and SAR data to develop an effective and transferable set of methods for examining these unique transitional zones.

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There's Sand in the Sensor! EO approaches to interpreting delta-desert transitional environments. Steve Markofsky. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431599)


Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15989

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America