The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-7/W3
30 Apr 2015
 | 30 Apr 2015

Unmanned Aerial Systems and Spectroscopy for Remote Sensing Applications in Archaeology

K. Themistocleous, A. Agapiou, B Cuca, and D. G. Hadjimitsis

Keywords: remote sensing archaeology, UAV, ground spectroscopy, crop marks, cultural heritage

Abstract. Remote sensing has open up new dimensions in archaeological research. Although there has been significant progress in increasing the resolution of space/aerial sensors and image processing, the detection of the crop (and soil marks) formations, which relate to buried archaeological remains, are difficult to detect since these marks may not be visible in the images if observed over different period or at different spatial/spectral resolution. In order to support the improvement of earth observation remote sensing technologies specifically targeting archaeological research, a better understanding of the crop/soil marks formation needs to be studied in detail. In this paper the contribution of both Unmanned Aerial Systems as well ground spectroradiometers is discussed in a variety of examples applied in the eastern Mediterranean region (Cyprus and Greece) as well in Central Europe (Hungary). In- situ spectroradiometric campaigns can be applied for the removal of atmospheric impact to simultaneous satellite overpass images. In addition, as shown in this paper, the systematic collection of ground truth data prior to the satellite/aerial acquisition can be used to detect the optimum temporal and spectral resolution for the detection of stress vegetation related to buried archaeological remains. Moreover, phenological studies of the crops from the area of interest can be simulated to the potential sensors based on their Relative Response Filters and therefore prepare better the satellite-aerial campaigns. Ground data and the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) can provide an increased insight for studying the formation of crop and soil marks. New algorithms such as vegetation indices and linear orthogonal equations for the enhancement of crop marks can be developed based on the specific spectral characteristics of the area. As well, UAS can be used for remote sensing applications in order to document, survey and model cultural heritage and archaeological sites.