Science Service System

Summary of Proposal MTH3235

TitleUsing TerraSAR-X Stripmap data for evaluating a Medieval Archeology Site in Southern Germany
Investigator Sibler, Philipp - Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security GmbH, Computing Platforms for Avionics TDEEH12
Team Member
Mrs. Thode, Katja - Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Department of Medieval Archeology
SummaryApproximately 10 km west of the city of Calw, Germany in the Northern Black Forest region the remains of the deserted medieval village Oberwürzbach can be found preserved under forest cover. In an area of 5 to 6 square kilometers just south of the village of Würzbach numerous above-ground relicts of the medieval settlement can be found, amongst those are remains of old roads, debris hills of collapsed buildings and farmland allotments which are still visible today (Thode, 2016). Due to the size and vegetation cover of the area a detailed survey and mapping of the settlement could not be achieved so far. However, a detailed mapping and classification of the archeological structures in the area is key to be able to give answers to several archeological questions concerning e.g. the organisation of the settlement or the size of its different farmland areas. Answers to those questions would provide new knowledge about and insights into medieval rural settlements in South-West Germany (Thode, 2016). Knowledge in this specific field of medieval archeology is still scarce today and could benefit from a thorough registration of the Würzbach site. Earlier mapping attempts using aerial imagery, Lidar scans or DGPS measurements mainly suffered from the coniferous forest cover of the area. Some terrestrial Lidar scans were done as well, but they were both limited in terms of the area covered and suffered from accuracy problems due to quite dense brush-wood in some areas. Due to this circumstances manual charting done by a local forest ranger still remains to be the best overall mapping of the settlement structures yet today (Schreg, 2013). In this setting remote sensing data from TerraSAR-X could further support the survey of this wide-spread archeological area. Although X-band radar observations could suffer from similar transmission problems given the vegetational cover, and we are very aware of that, it might be possible to still retrieve meaningful data given the numerous overground structures with gradients in radar reflectivity and the artificial surface deformations due to the repeated usage of the area as farmland for several centuries. Moreover, a deforested area just north of the current site is likely to contain further subterranean remainders of the Oberwürzbach settlement. The TerraSAR-X archive overall holds four strip-map observations from the Würzbach site taken in 2008 and 2010. In a first step we would use those observations to scan for already salient features of the site and to manually scan for temporal changes in the data that could hint to some archeological structures in question. If not already done so in the first step the combination and fusion of TerraSAR-X data with different other data sources could help to improve results. Based on those first evaluations the applicability and feasibility of refined SAR processing algorithms could be discussed. SAR interferometry could provide insights about surface deformation and remainders of human infrastructure. If feasible with the given X-band data set, the given SAR observation baselines, stack size and temporal correlations of the data, TomoSAR techniques to retrieve ground surface structures under the forest canopy could be employed as a mid-term goal, as they are currently under investigation for better-suited L-band or P-band SAR systems.

Back to list of proposals

© DLR 2004-2016