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Summary of Proposal GEO2327

TitleIdentification, characterisation and typisation of an ancient settlement network comprising elevated settlement mounds in the surrounding of the ancient centre Tell el-Fara'in (Buto, Western Nile Delta) on the basis of TSX-data.
Investigator Ginau, Andreas - Institute of Physical Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Department for Geosciences
Team Member
Dr. Schiestl, Robert - German Archaeological Institute, Deopartment Cairo
Dr. Marzolff, Irene - Institute of Physical Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Department for Geosciences
Prof. Dr. Wunderlich, Jürgen - Institute of Physical Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Department for Geosciences
SummaryThe use of TSX-data enormously triggers our research and understanding of the settlement and landscape history of the region under study and serves to save knowledge on settlement mounds that are disappearing rapidly nowadays. In his work Dr. Robert Schiestl emphasized the importance to study the settlement mounds around Buto that are remnants of an antique network of settlements and, therefore, highlight the exceptional position of Buto in archaeology. He made clear that analysis of the sites is urgent because of two main reasons. The first is the rapidly increasing population in the Nile Delta and the resulting population pressure leading to the transformation of archaeological sites to modern settlements or irrigated fields.. Secondly, there is an enormous deficit in Egyptology regarding the knowledge of settlements and their regional distribution. For no region in Egpyt have the shifting regional settlement patterns been established to date. The northerwestern Delta provides a unique opportunity in this respect, as pressure by modern settlements was in the last decades comparatively weak, due to its somewhat remote location. Therefore, currently we still find a large array of surviving sites which have not yet been investigated. This has, however, started to change dramatically. So far various sites have been identified in the surrounding of the centre Buto on the basis of historic maps (ranging from topographic maps (1920-1936) to Napoléon Bonaparte’s famous expedition "Description de l’Égypte" (1798-1801)), remote sensing data (classification of RapidEye and Landsat 8 scenes) and results of an archaeological survey (2010-2012) under guidance of Dr. Robert Schiestl. As mentioned earlier conditions are excellent for the usage of Terrasar-X data and Link et al. (2013a, 2013b) achieved good results with multi-temporal stack images consisting of nine images obtained within a few months and showed that it is a promising method for archaeological site prospection. Furthermore, the method can be used to describe variation of soil surface parameters such as texture or moisture for barren fields in the closer area surrounding Buto. Sites studied in the survey are mainly Roman or Late Roman settlements, whereas, some sites dating back to Ptolemaic times or earlier were also found. Precisely, this enables to test the prospection potential of the method for sites belonging to different cultural epochs with different building designs and materials. Area of interest for Terrasar-X data are individual mounds in the closer surroundings of Buto (def. for closer area and midpoints of mounds is given in the detailed description).

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