The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-2/W15
20 Aug 2019
 | 20 Aug 2019


J. Angás, P. Uribe, E. Ariño, J. M. Gurt, V. Martínez-Ferreras, and S. Pidaev

Keywords: Uzbekistan, Ancient Termez, CORONA Satellite, photogrammetric techniques, 3D reconstruction, open-source libraries

Abstract. This paper presents the preliminary results obtained during the 3D recording campaign carried out in 2018 by the Spanish-Uzbek IPAEB mission in the archaeological site of Termez (southern border of Uzbekistan). Ancient Termez is an important historical city within the Silk Road located in the ancient Bactria region. The archaeological work performed at the site since the beginning of the 20th century allowed a large fortified urban complex to be identified that includes other walled enclosures inside it, i.e., a Hellenistic- Seleucid fortress founded after the campaigns of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BC, several Buddhist monastic complexes dated to the Kushan period (1st to mid-3rd centuries), and a large urban settlement dated to the Islamic period which includes the city proper or shahristan and the suburbs or rabad. After the destruction by Genghis Khan in 1220, Termez was rebuilt following a different plan. Major changes involved the movement of the pottery workshops from the rabad to the previous shahristan. The research focuses on: a) the identification, study and archaeological contextualization of ceramic production centres located in different areas of the ancient Termez from the Kushan to the Islamic period (1st to 14th centuries AD); b) the integration of the pottery workshops into the general topography of the site and c) the study of their evolution in relation to the transformation of the urban design. Since the site is currently located in a military area – close to the border area between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan –, the archaeological work is restricted to specific zones and the use of aerial devices such as drones is forbidden. However, this research requires both micro and macro spatial approaches to accurately record all the archaeological structures and to evaluate the integration and evolution of the pottery workshops into the general topography of the city. In order to fill this gap, declassified images of the CORONA satellite program were analyzed and compared to historical and archaeological data. In addition, we propose a geometrical and graphical recording and distribution system of the kilns – located in the rabad and the shahristan – and the ceramics produced and used in Termez during the period studied by means of photogrammetric techniques. The results are aimed at management through open-source 3D formats and web mapping GIS libraries combined with historical satellite information that defines the different archaeological areas.