Discovering archaeological cropmarks: a hyperspectral approach

Aqdus, S.A., Drummond, J. and Hanson, W.S. (2008) Discovering archaeological cropmarks: a hyperspectral approach. In: The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Beijing, China, 3-11 July 2008, pp. 361-365.

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For the last half century aerial photography has been considered to have made the single most important contribution to archaeological site discovery in temperate latitudes, as subsurface features can produce cropmarks detectable in aerial imagery. But it is well established that successful aerial photographic reconnaissance for cropmarks relies on dry weather and well-drained soils in arable agriculture. There is, thus, in Scotland, a bias in the discovery of known archaeological sites in favour of drier eastern districts, supporting arable agriculture, compared to the west with its wetter climate focussed on pastureland. Cropmarks are linked to moisture stress in growing plants and, thus, are potentially detectable in bands both outside and within the visible part of the electro-magnetic spectrum. So, although cropmark detection has used film, whose sensitivity closely approximates the human eye, hyperspectral scanning allows consideration of a wide range of different wavelengths, beyond the visible spectrum, many of which are sensitive to changes in vegetation status. The main objective of the research partially reported here is to test whether an enhancement of archaeological site discovery can be achieved by augmenting cropmark detection rates through the use of hyperspectral remotely sensed imagery.The research uses two case studies (one in eastern Scotland and the other in the west). One case study of an area of arable farmland in eastern Scotland using data provided by one sortie of two airborne scanners (a digital camera was also provided) is summarised herein. Following processing and analysis, these data supported the discovery of as many cropmarks as had been detected in the aerial photographic data acquired over several decades.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Drummond, Dr Jane and Hanson, Professor William
Authors: Aqdus, S.A., Drummond, J., and Hanson, W.S.
Subjects:C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology

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