Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM


WIESER, Anna, Anthropology, University of Kansas, Parker 21, Kansas Geological Survey, Lawrence, KS 66046,

Geoarchaeology is an inherently hands on discipline, but remote sensing provides a large scale view of the natural environment and otherwise inaccessible areas without requiring a trip to the field. There are applications for this imagery which have long been used by archaeologists; aerial photos have been used for archaeological research since the early 1900s, and satellite imagery plays a critical planning role for most modern research projects. However, the advent of high resolution and multi- and hyperspectral imagery has increased possible modes of investigation available to geoarchaeologists before entering the field.

The 21st century brings a host of new queries for the imagery beyond those of planning and prospecting. Researchers now produce nuanced interpretations of the behavior of soil and vegetation on and around archaeological sites, investigations into the ancient land surface, and increasingly detailed models of relationships between humans and the natural landscape. While much of this relies on advances in spatial analysis software, remotely sensed imagery helps to tie the tangible landscape into lab-based analyses. Increase in violent conflicts in the Middle East also highlights the relevance of remotely sensed imagery to the maintenance of active projects in this and other areas of the world made inaccessible through warfare. Remote sensing has become a tool of necessity to many geoarchaeologists, and future developments in technology ensure its future use in the discipline.