ARCHAEOLOGICAL FEATURE DETECTION FROM ARCHIVE AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY WITH A SFM-MVS AND IMAGE ENHANCEMENT PIPELINE
Keywords: Archaeology, feature detection, SfM-MVS, image enhancement, cultural heritage
Abstract. Understanding and protecting cultural heritage involves the detection and long-term documentation of archaeological remains alongside the spatio-temporal analysis of their landscape evolution. Archive aerial photography can illuminate traces of ancient features which typically appear with different brightness values from their surrounding environment, but are not always well defined. This research investigates the implementation of the Structure-from-Motion - Multi-View Stereo image matching approach with an image enhancement algorithm to derive three epochs of orthomosaics and digital surface models from visible and near infrared historic aerial photography. The enhancement algorithm uses decorrelation stretching to improve the contrast of the orthomosaics so as archaeological features are better detected. Results include 2D / 3D locations of detected archaeological traces stored into a geodatabase for further archaeological interpretation and correlation with benchmark observations. The study also discusses the merits and difficulties of the process involved. This research is based on a European-wide project, entitled “Cultural Heritage Through Time”, and the case study research was carried out as a component of the project in the UK.