Institute for Mediterranean Studies

Remote Sensing Techniques & Computer Applications for Archaeological Monument & Site Assessment of Itanos in Eastern Crete, Greece.

Remote sensing techniques have been applied in the archaeological site of Itanos (Erimoupolis) in north-east Crete, to create an electronic map of and evaluate the surface and subsurface relics. For mapping cultural and environmental features in the region, a variety of geophysical, surveying and satellite methods has been applied, such as shallow and medium depth geophysical prospection, satellite and aerial remote sensing, as well as GPS geodetic surveying. The purpose of the geophysical survey has been to map the subsurface relics, which were located at different ground depths and related to various historic occupation layers on the site. Geophysical prospection included magnetometry, soil resistance and conductivity surveys, resistivity tomography and ground penetrating radar surveys, while penetration depth varied from 0.5m to 10m depending on the configuration and the technique used. Geophysical data have been processed by image processing techniques (both in spatial and frequency domain) and cross-correlated for maximum efficiency. Electrical tomography has also provided the cross-sectional view of specific features. Subsequent excavations at selected areas have verified the archaeological findings explored in advance by the geophysical surveys. The geophysical and topographic data of the surface features were superimposed on to the aerial photographs for further interpretation of the archaeological relics and identification of the extent of the ancient site. Seismic reflection and refraction techniques were also used for detecting the ancient port and for a 3-dimensional reconstruction of the subsurface basin, covered by alluvium deposits. The overall assessment of archaeological and environmental features has been made using Landsat and SPOT satellite imagery. Ground truthing and registration of the images as well as accurate positioning of the geophysical grids and parts of the archaeological relics was performed with two GPS satellite receivers in kinematic mode. All of the data collected will be integrated in a Geographic Information System, which will be incorporated for managing and protecting the archaeological and environmental resources being under the threat of urban development. It is expected that the final product will be taken into serious consideration in the planning and developing under way in the region.

  • Athanasios Kalpaxis †
  • Apostolos Sarris