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Applications of Remote Sensing in Landscape Archaeology

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 July 2024 | Viewed by 4516

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223, USA
Interests: landscape anthropology and archaeology; GIS; remote sensing; coupled natural and human systems

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Guest Editor
Center for Latin American Studies, The University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Interests: landscape archaeology; political ecology; cultural heritage

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Guest Editor
Department of Anthropology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA
Interests: remote sensing; Mesoamerican archaeology; settlement patterns; GIS

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Guest Editor
Earth System Science Center, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899, USA
Interests: satellite remote sensing; ecological anthropology; settlement patterns; landscape archaeology; GIS

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Guest Editor Assistant
Earth System Science Center, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899, USA
Interests: remote sensing; big data; earth system science; land cover/land use change; human-environment interactions; landscape archaeology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Remote sensing and landscape archaeology have a tightly coupled history. Early images and the first sources of remote sensing data provided a new lens of perception into the past, expanding the scale and scope of analysis beyond the boundaries of archaeological sites and features. Today, high-resolution imagery and LiDAR are rapidly transforming how we map archaeological landscapes, document sites and features, analyze and interpret past landscapes, and manage and preserve cultural landscapes. This rapid infusion of data is transforming landscape archaeological methods while significantly expanding the role of landscape archaeology in the discipline. This data revolution also offers innovative ways to manage, protect, and engage cultural resources and landscapes. This Special Issue aims to capture these transformations to create a foundational platform for the next decade of landscape archaeology.

From sampling to field techniques, the recent advancements in remote sensing in landscape archaeology have influenced how we collect, analyze, and process data. For example, data from active sensors, like airborne and UAV LiDAR, have changed the precision, scale, and speed through which we can acquire data about archaeological sites and the full regional context. But it’s not just methodological improvements; these advancements have allowed archaeologists to address complex questions about coupled natural and human systems and their past dynamics. Recent advances have also exposed the value of mining deep historical remote sensing datasets to focus on data integration and how multisource data can answer core questions about landscape history and historical ecology. Topics for this Special Issue may cover remote sensing methods, processing, analytical techniques, multisource data integration, multiscale regional studies, ethical considerations, or investigations on how remote sensing offers comparative information about our planet’s coupled human and natural history through the lens of landscape. Articles can be focused on any time period, and we aim to encourage articles from diverse geographic contexts.

We invite articles that address early human archaeological landscapes until modern and industrial archaeology applications. Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Ancient agrarian landscapes and intensification;
  • Settlement patterns and settlement ecology;
  • Urbanization and ecological change;
  • Landscape and land use change;
  • Historical ecology;
  • Hydroarchaeology;
  • Mapping and documenting archaeological landscapes;
  • Analysis and modeling of archaeological landscapes;
  • Multisource data integration;
  • Sampling and data analysis;
  • Remotely sensed Big Data;
  • Open science and landscape archaeology.

Prof. Dr. Timothy Murtha
Dr. Whittaker Schroder
Prof. Dr. Charles W Golden
Dr. Robert Griffin
Guest Editors

Kelsey Herndon
Guest Editor Assistant

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • landscape archaeology
  • remote sensing big data
  • settlement ecology
  • environmental archaeology
  • land use land cover
  • GIS

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 35356 KiB  
Article
The Synergy between Artificial Intelligence, Remote Sensing, and Archaeological Fieldwork Validation
by Daniel Canedo, João Hipólito, João Fonte, Rita Dias, Tiago do Pereiro, Petia Georgieva, Luís Gonçalves-Seco, Marta Vázquez, Nelson Pires, Pastor Fábrega-Álvarez, Fernando Menéndez-Marsh and António J. R. Neves
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(11), 1933; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs16111933 - 28 May 2024
Viewed by 198
Abstract
The increasing relevance of remote sensing and artificial intelligence (AI) for archaeological research and cultural heritage management is undeniable. However, there is a critical gap in this field. Many studies conclude with identifying hundreds or even thousands of potential sites, but very few [...] Read more.
The increasing relevance of remote sensing and artificial intelligence (AI) for archaeological research and cultural heritage management is undeniable. However, there is a critical gap in this field. Many studies conclude with identifying hundreds or even thousands of potential sites, but very few follow through with crucial fieldwork validation to confirm their existence. This research addresses this gap by proposing and implementing a fieldwork validation pipeline. In northern Portugal’s Alto Minho region, we employed this pipeline to verify 237 potential burial mounds identified by an AI-powered algorithm. Fieldwork provided valuable information on the optimal conditions for burial mounds and the specific factors that led the algorithm to err. Based on these insights, we implemented two key improvements to the algorithm. First, we incorporated a slope map derived from LiDAR-generated terrain models to eliminate potential burial mound inferences in areas with high slopes. Second, we trained a Vision Transformer model using digital orthophotos of both confirmed burial mounds and previously identified False Positives. This further refines the algorithm’s ability to distinguish genuine sites. The improved algorithm was then tested in two areas: the original Alto Minho validation region and the Barbanza region in Spain, where the location of burial mounds was well established through prior field work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Remote Sensing in Landscape Archaeology)
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18 pages, 51367 KiB  
Article
Drone-Acquired Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) Imagery in Landscape Archaeology: An Experimental Approach
by Jesse Casana and Carolin Ferwerda
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(10), 1671; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs16101671 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 627
Abstract
Many rocks, minerals, and soil types reflect short-wave infrared (SWIR) imagery (900–2500 nm) in distinct ways, and geologists have long relied on this property to aid in the mapping of differing surface lithologies. Although surface archaeological features including artifacts, anthrosols, or structural remains [...] Read more.
Many rocks, minerals, and soil types reflect short-wave infrared (SWIR) imagery (900–2500 nm) in distinct ways, and geologists have long relied on this property to aid in the mapping of differing surface lithologies. Although surface archaeological features including artifacts, anthrosols, or structural remains also likely reflect SWIR wavelengths of light in unique ways, archaeological applications of SWIR imagery are rare, largely due to the low spatial resolution and high acquisition costs of these data. Fortunately, a new generation of compact, drone-deployable sensors now enables the collection of ultra-high-resolution (<10 cm), hyperspectral (>100 bands) SWIR imagery using a consumer-grade drone, while the analysis of these complex datasets is now facilitated by powerful imagery-processing software packages. This paper presents an experimental effort to develop a methodology that would allow archaeologists to collect SWIR imagery using a drone, locate surface artifacts in the resultant data, and identify different artifact types in the imagery based on their reflectance values across the 900–1700 nm spectrum. Our results illustrate both the potential of this novel approach to exploring the archaeological record, as we successfully locate and characterize many surface artifacts in our experimental study, while also highlighting challenges in successful data collection and analysis, largely related to current limitations in sensor and drone technology. These findings show that as underlying hardware sees continued improvements in the coming years, drone-acquired SWIR imagery can become a powerful tool for the discovery, documentation, and analysis of archaeological landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Remote Sensing in Landscape Archaeology)
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0 pages, 30495 KiB  
Article
Use of Geoinformatics for the Digitization and Visualization of Sensitive Space in the Urban Landscape: A Case Study of the Gross-Rosen Sub-Camps Systems
by Sebastian Różycki, Marek Michalski and Aleksandra Kobielec
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(5), 783; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs16050783 - 24 Feb 2024
Viewed by 734
Abstract
Geospatial technologies enable accurate and detailed documentation of cultural heritage sites. They allow for the creation of digital representations of these sites that can be shared with interested audiences. Given the above, this paper presents the possibility of using archival data to reconstruct [...] Read more.
Geospatial technologies enable accurate and detailed documentation of cultural heritage sites. They allow for the creation of digital representations of these sites that can be shared with interested audiences. Given the above, this paper presents the possibility of using archival data to reconstruct the topography of two German labor camps, Dyhernfurth I and II, which operated during World War II. To perform this task, multi-source archival data was obtained and interpreted. These data came from various sources: archives, historical institutes, and museums. The results of the study were presented to the staff of the Gross-Rosen Museum, who anticipated the possibility of using the proposed tools in the management of other labor camps. The proposed methodology can be replicated at other locations and easily implemented by other martyrdom museums involved in the preservation of cultural heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Remote Sensing in Landscape Archaeology)
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23 pages, 5397 KiB  
Article
Down to the Rivers: A Geophysical Investigation at Étiolles (France) to Reconstruct the Magdalenian Occupation
by Erica Corradini, Dennis Wilken, Yann Le Jeune, Mara-Julia Weber, Tina Wunderlich, Natalie Pickartz, Manuel Zolchow, Olivier Bignon-Lau, Elisa Caron-Laviolette, Ludovic Mevel, Boris Valentin, Valentina Villa and Wolfgang Rabbel
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(3), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs16030519 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 682
Abstract
An investigation of the Magdalenian occupation at Étiolles-Les Coudray (France) was conducted using geophysical methods. Based on ground-penetrating radar (GPR), electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), electromagnetic induction (EMI), and stratigraphic information, we present a reconstruction of the main sediment interfaces carrying the Magdalenian occupation. [...] Read more.
An investigation of the Magdalenian occupation at Étiolles-Les Coudray (France) was conducted using geophysical methods. Based on ground-penetrating radar (GPR), electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), electromagnetic induction (EMI), and stratigraphic information, we present a reconstruction of the main sediment interfaces carrying the Magdalenian occupation. Étiolles-Les Coudray is one of the most important open-air campsites in the Paris Basin, where consecutive settlements distributed along the Hauldres stream were preserved by silts. The geoarchaeological goals were, in particular, the reconstruction of the ancient environment in which hunter–gatherers settled, providing spatialized known stratigraphies able to find an echo in the Seine Valley. Moreover, a focus on the capability of geophysical methods to detect archaeological features is also presented and discussed. We observed that the major reflections in the GPR records were generated from interfaces that have grain size variation: (1) the bottom of the Holocene colluvium and (2) the bottom of the upper Late Glacial silt. EMI and ERT show a very clear horizon associated with the upper Late Glacial silt, in some places even more clearly defined than with GPR. We confirmed the presence of a channel along the slope, placed under Locus 1, and a second channel of the same type globally following the paleotopography of Locus 2. We created a thickness map of the “beige sandy silt” and hypothesized a high probability of good preservation conditions of Magdalenian evidence. Finally, the detection of several localized diffraction hyperbolas in the GPR record offers the possibility to obtain the ground truth of the geophysical results in the near future and verify the nature (archaeological or geological) of these features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Remote Sensing in Landscape Archaeology)
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33 pages, 60330 KiB  
Communication
In Search of Ancient Pre-Roman Imperial Roads: A Case Study of the Application of Remote Sensing in Road Archaeology in the Southern Levant
by Michał Marciak, Daniel Sobczyński, Omri Abadi, Bartłomiej Szypuła, Lior Schwimmer and Miroslava Čilová
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(18), 4545; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15184545 - 15 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1309
Abstract
This paper presents a unique case of the application of remote sensing methods in archaeological survey devoted to ancient pre-Roman Imperial roads in the Southern Levant. The results of our preparatory remote sensing research and subsequent fieldwork in Jordan and Israel between 22 [...] Read more.
This paper presents a unique case of the application of remote sensing methods in archaeological survey devoted to ancient pre-Roman Imperial roads in the Southern Levant. The results of our preparatory remote sensing research and subsequent fieldwork in Jordan and Israel between 22 February and 23 March 2023, within the framework of the research project entitled “Travel and Mobility in Hellenistic and Early Roman Palestine”, are reported and discussed. Part of this project is a large-scale, systematic research attempt to discover additional ancient pre-Roman roads and to suggest a working methodology for future research. The methodology is supposed to combine remote sensing research and archaeological survey. The project’s first fieldwork achieved several goals. First, the modern methods enabled us to provide a high-resolution capture of the detected features and artifacts, including the courses of ancient roads and the locations of road-related archaeological sites. Altogether, 105 road remains, 62 archaeological sites, and 14 pottery findings were identified; what is more, 11 GPS (Global Positioning System) tracks of ancient roads were registered. Second, we suggested necessary revisions to the previous state of research and reported new findings. For instance, newly discovered rock art evidence found along Glueck’s Road confirms the continuity of the use of this road long into late antiquity and early Islam. Third, some methodological conclusions were reached. For example, a multi-source approach to identifying ancient roads including the use of archival cartographic sources, archival and modern satellite and aerial imagery, and the databases of archaeological sites is still necessary. However, there can be no doubt that spatial analyses and remote sensing studies must be accompanied by archaeological fieldwork, which is absolutely necessary for determining the dating of the roads (by dating the settlement and pottery) and a detailed identification of the road courses (particularly through the discovery of road-related infrastructure). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Remote Sensing in Landscape Archaeology)
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