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Summary of Proposal MTH2240

TitleStaring spotlight images for archaeological prospections - case studies in Turkey, Egypt, and the Altai Mountains
Investigator Balz, Timo - Wuhan University, LIESMARS
Team Members
Dr. Erasmi, Stefan - Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, Geographisches Institut
Prof. Liao, Mingsheng - Wuhan University, LIESMARS
Mr. Rosenbauer, Ralph - Universitaet Bern, Institut fuer Archaeologische Wissenschaften
Ms Rutishauer, Susanne - Universitaet Bern, Institut fuer Archaeologische Wissenschaften
Mr. Caspari, Gino - Universität Hamburg / Wuhan University, Archäologisches Institut / LIESMARS

Objectives: The proposed project intends to evaluate the potential of very high-resolution staring spotlight TerraSAR-X data for scientific applications in archaeology. The first aim is a better understanding of the diachronic development of the settlement clusters of the Plain Cilicia (nowadays Povince Adana, Turkey). The second aim is the reconstruction of ancient land use and surface patterns in the Egyptian Oases. The third aim is the analysis of the spatial distribution of the Scythian grave mounds in the Altai Mountains. We also intend to combine the analysis from the staring spotlight TerraSAR-X data with the results from the PRE-OPERATIONAL-AO and do a multi-band analysis with data from the 4th ALOS Research Announcement. A special focus is placed on the comparison of different test sites, varying in the geological as well as climatic conditions and their actual land use. This will offer the possibility to compare the influence of different environmental parameters (like vegetation and soil wetness) and to acquire knowledge about the best-adapted strategies for data collection and processing. The archaeological sites within the Cilician Plain (Turkey) offer a broad spectrum of different conditions from ancient settlements mostly covered by sedimentation of the flood plain to hilltop sanctuaries at the top of steep rocky hills almost without vegetation. On the other hand the sites in the oases of Egypt will allow us to conduct further research on the depth penetration of X-band in dry sand.

Data requirements: We will demand staring spotlight mode data with single polarization. The single polarization is chosen in order to improve resolution in azimuth. For the Altai Mountains test site we will also order standard spotlight and stripmap data to get an overview over the spatial resolution requirements for detecting the Scythian grave mounds. For the Altai test-site we have additional IKONOS and ZY-3 optical data available. For the other two test-sites (Cilcia and the oases of Egypt) we have already additional SAR data available from the TanDEM PRE-OPERATIONAL-AO and the 4th ALOS Research Announcement.

Deliverables: Digital surface models of different test areas will be available. Maps and 3D-visualizations of the areas under investigation will deliver fundamental information for the historical landscape analysis. Moreover, we have the possibility to compare the DSM results with DSM created from single-pass bi-static TanDEM data. For the AOI in the oases of Egypt the staring spotlight data will provide us a very valuable base for the reconstruction of the ancient land use. Furthermore, by amplitude analysis, we will develop an automated detection for grave mound structures and their spatial relations in the Altai Mountains, providing us with a deeper insight into Scythian culture.

Funding: The project is funded by the State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing of the Wuhan University as well as by support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China. The Co-PI Erasmi holds a permanent position, while the Co-PI Rosenbauer holds temporary employments financed by the University of Bern. Gino Caspari is funded via a Fulbright Scholarship. Susanne Rutishauser held a scholarship of the Swiss National Science Foundation for her project “Siedlungskammer Kilikien”. An application for further support will be submitted as part of a Chinese 973-project for using Remote Sensing in archeology as well as an application for International Exchange of the Chinese Scholarship Council.

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