Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM
GEOARCHAEOLOGY AND THE FIRST FARMERS OF SOUTHERN ARABIA: RECENT APPLICATIONS OF LANDSAT AND ASTER SATELLITE IMAGERY FOR SURVEY AND ANALYSIS
Given the now impressive breadth of analytical procedures and largely automated processing software developed by, and for, geo-scientists, satellite remote sensing is making increasingly substantial contributions to archaeological analyses. Although archaeologists have long recognized the power of aerial photo and satellite imagery for archaeological site prospecting, analyses can move far beyond simply finding archaeological sites. Particularly in remote international locales where soils data, hydrological information, and ecological classifications are not well-developed or readily available, satellite imagery can make invaluable contributions for landscape characterization, predictive, and archaeological site-location-determinant modeling. This paper outlines applications of LANDSAT and ASTER satellite imagery as part of the Roots of Agriculture in Southern Arabia (RASA) multidisciplinary research project. Our initial efforts involved map production and landcover classification with LANDSAT imagery. Recently available ASTER imagery has helped refine our classifications and allowed production of a digital elevation model (DEM) for hyper-arid terrain where hydrology and landcover were crucial to prehistoric peoples, particularly agriculturalists. In our case, and in others, satellite imagery provides a new source of analytical data invaluable for GIS spatial analyses.