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Archaeological Remote Sensing

The Programme Line ‘Archaeological Remote Sensing’ is focussing on the development and application of archaeological remote sensing as the main method for large-scale archaeological site detection and identification. Geo-referenced and rectified vertical and oblique aerial photos obtained through reconnaissance flights as well as airborne remote sensing data are used to derive an integrated archaeological mapping and interpretation of detected structures or features. In this way, repetitive observations can be combined into an extensive overall view of an archaeological region, which will be used as basic information for the application of additional prospection methods, targeted excavations, protection measures and spatial archaeology.

Rectified aerial view of Carnuntum/Austria and archaeological interpretation

The main objectives of this programm line are the further development of archaeological airborne laser scanning, the systematic evaluation of airborne hyper-spectral scanning data for aerial archaeology and the acceleration as well as the semi-automatic rectification and geo-referencing of aerial imagery.

Airborne Laserscan (LIDAR) of a forrested area before and after filtering (St. Anna in der Wüste/Austria)Aerial archaeology / aerial remote sensing is a very cost-effective method for site discovery with the potential to provide detailed maps of archaeological structures, showing up on the surface as so called “visibility marks”, i.e. slight topographic variations visible as shadow-marks, soil-marks due to varying chemical and physical properties affecting soil colour on the surface, and crop-marks due to variable growth of the vegetation or frost-marks due to varying thermal properties. Georeferenced and rectified vertical and oblique aerial photos from reconnaissance flights are used to derive the archaeological interpretation of detected structures or features. In this way, repetitive observations can be combined into an extensive overall view of an archaeological region, which will be used as basic information for further prospecting, excavations, protection measures, and spatial archaeology.

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