Application Remote Sensing for Archaeology
Application Remote Sensing for Archaeology

Remote sensing can be used as a methodological procedure for detecting, acquire inventory and prioritizing surface and shallow-depth archeological information in a rapid, accurate, and quantified manner. Man is a tropical creature who has invaded every environment on earth successfully; now we are ready to explore, and eventually colonize, the delicate environments of Space. Understanding how ancient man successfully managed Earth is important for the success of current and future civilizations.

Remote Sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) have become increasingly important tools for archaeologists, as these systems link information to precisely calibrated physical locations, and integrate information drawn from multiple sources. The usefulness of satellite images and aerial photographs for identifying and analyzing archaeological sites was recognized from the early days of aviation and the imagery is now available from an array of aircraft and high resolution satellite borne sensors such as GeoEye-1, WorldView-2, Worldview-1, QuickBird, IKONOS, Spot-5 and LIDAR that provide even greater potential for investigating archaeological sites.

Angkor Wat ASTER - Great Wall of China

Angkor Wat, Cambodia - 2004
Ancient Observatory

Amongst the ruins, Angkor Wat is the most famous temple, built by Suryavarman II in the early 12th century to honor the Hindu god Vishnu.

Great Wall of China - 2001
Ancient History

The Great Wall (snow covered) is over 2000 years old and was built over a period of 1000 years. Stretching 4500 miles from Korea to the Gobi Desert it was first built to protect China from marauders from the north. Photo credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

Now more than ever, archeological research is interdisciplinary: botany, forestry, soil science and hydrology — all of which contribute to a more complete understanding of the earth, climate shifts, and how people adapt to large regions.

The spectrum of sunlight reflected by the Earth's surface contains information about the composition of the surface, and it may reveal traces of past human activities, such as agriculture, structures and roads, vegetation, and all kinds of rocks have distinctive temperatures and emit heat at different rates, sensors can "see" things beyond ordinary vision from satellite sensors such as LANDSAT and ASTER satellite due to their multispectral band combinations which can pick differences in land cover and change detection. Differences in soil texture are revealed by fractional temperature variations. So it is possible to identify loose soil that had been prehistoric agricultural fields, or was covering buried remains. More advanced versions of such multi-spectral scanners can detect irrigation ditches filled with sediment because they hold more moisture and thus have a temperature different from other soil. The ground above a buried stone wall, for instance, may be a touch hotter than the surrounding terrain because the stone absorbs more heat. Radar can penetrate darkness, cloud cover, thick jungle canopies, and even the ground.

Satellite Imaging Corporation supplies satellite image data to researchers and archaeologists from high resolution satellite sensors such as Worldview-1, GeoEye-1, QuickBird and IKONOS to aid in their search for ancient historical sites and discoveries.

Search for the "Lost City of Troy"

Orebic Harbor, Croatia

IKONOS — Orebic Harbor, Croatia

Copyright © 2010 GeoEye. All rights reserved.

Mt. Ararat, Turkey - "Ararat Anomaly"

DEM of Mt. Ararat Anomaly at Mt. Ararat
ASTER - DEM "Anomaly" - QuickBird - 2003

Mt. Ararat, Turkey

Mount Ararat (16,940 feet, 5165 m) is the largest volcano in Turkey. Although not currently active, its most recent eruption has probably been within the last 10,000 years. It is located in extreme northeastern Turkey, near the borders with Iran and Armenia. A number of claims by different explorers said to have found remnants of Noah's Ark on Mt. Ararat have led to continuing expeditions to the mountain, many of which have focused their searches on the gorge area.

3D Flythrough Video of Mt. Ararat Anomaly

Video Flythrough of Mt. Ararat

Broadband connection and QuickTime player required - Size: 9 MB

<1m Stereo IKONOS Satellite Image Data and 5m DEM

Copyright © 2010 GeoEye & Satellite Imaging Corporation. All rights reserved.

Satellite Imaging Corporation provides orthorectified satellite images and aerial photography that can be processed for visualization of terrain conditions in three dimensions (3D) or digital elevation models (DEMs), which are generated from a variety of resources. A digital elevation model can be used to closely examine various terrain attributes, their influence on the movement of soil and nutrients, as well as the resulting effect on forest, plant, and wildlife productivity and distribution.

No matter how remote, Satellite Imaging Corporation can retrieve your images from the most difficult-to-photograph areas of the world. For heavily forested areas, we provide medium-to-high resolution "Bare Earth" DEMs utilizing the Synthetic Aperture Radar (X/P SAR) data. This provides weather independency, allowing us to map large areas of terrain in limited timeframes, independent of the weather and solar illumination conditions. We are also familiar with specialized retrieval methods used for digital imagery in remote areas, highly developed areas and areas of persistent heavy cloud cover such as the tropics.

SIC provides specialized image processing per client requirements. By color balancing and utilizing the correct satellite band combinations for the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) mapping technique, our experienced imaging and GIS mapping team we isolate the terrain features and geological information needed for the correct analysis of your archaeology project.