Remote sensing and archaeological prospection in Apulia, Italy

Shawn A. Ross, Adela Sobotkova, Gert Jan Burgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


When deployed in combination with ground control, archaeological surface survey, and environmental research, remote sensing based upon high-resolution multispectral satellite imagery allows large areas to be evaluated efficiently by a small team of researchers and contributes to a better understanding of an archaeological landscape. In 2007 and 2008, we analyzed ca. 100 sq km of imagery centered on L'Amastuola, Italy. Combining the evaluation of high-resolution multispectral imagery with concurrent ground control led to the discovery of 29 sites and significant off-site scatters during about four weeks offieldwork. Our analysis indicates that most of the detected features reflect geological conditions amenable to past human habitation rather than subsurface archaeological remains. Earlier fieldwork by the Murge Tableland Survey (MTS) provided independent definitions for various types of sites and a large sample of sites and off-site scatters in the study area. Comparison of our remote-sensing guided efforts with the results of that survey suggests that our success rate is too high to be explained by random association and also illuminates the strengths and weaknesses of the respective methods, underscoring the need to integrate satellite image analysis with ground control and surface survey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-437
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


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