The potential of hyperspectral and multispectral imagery to enhance archaeological cropmark detection: a comparative study

Aqdus, S.A., Hanson, W.S. and Drummond, J.E. (2012) The potential of hyperspectral and multispectral imagery to enhance archaeological cropmark detection: a comparative study. Journal of Archaeological Science, 39(7), pp. 1915-1924. (doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2012.01.034)

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Aerial photography has made the single most important contribution to our improved appreciation of the density, diversity and distribution of archaeological sites in Britain since World War Two. This is particularly the case for areas of intensive lowland agriculture where ploughed-out sites are known mainly from marks in the crops growing above them. However, reconnaissance for such cropmarks is not equally effective throughout the lowlands, because of the particular conditions of drier weather, well-drained soils and arable agriculture required before they become visible, and is highly unpredictable. Given that the appearance of cropmarks is linked to moisture stress in growing plants, they are potentially detectable at bandwidths outside the visible spectrum and before they become apparent therein. This paper focuses on the application of two spectral enhancement techniques: Principal component analysis and Tasselled cap transformation. Comparing a range of imagery (CASI-2, ATM and digital vertical photographic data) from two case study areas in Lowland Scotland, each with very different environmental, agricultural and archaeological backgrounds to facilitate further comparisons, the paper demonstrates that multispectral/hyperspectral imagery can enhance the identification of otherwise invisible archaeological sites, particularly in the near-infrared part of the spectrum. However, the lower spatial resolution of such imagery, compared to photography, can make the often diffuse and incomplete cropmark traces more difficult to determine with confidence.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Drummond, Dr Jane and Hanson, Professor William
Authors: Aqdus, S.A., Hanson, W.S., and Drummond, J.E.
Subjects:C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Geography
Journal Name:Journal of Archaeological Science
Published Online:08 February 2012

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