Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Archaeology Student Spotlight!

GIS4260 GIS Applications in Archaeology, Dr. Scott Palumbo

Remote Sensing

Aerial photography, satellite imagery and remote sensing data are invaluable tools for the archaeologist.  By utilizing technology to examine large areas of a study area in a short time, the archaeologist can better understand trends, patterns and anomalies, and can identify areas of potential archaeological significance.  Although the sources of remote sensing data and imagery are numerous, for the purposes of this lab we will examine a high resolution orthoimage already geographically corrected for displacement and tilt.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify different types of remote sensing data and differentiate between sensor platforms
  • Identify the utility of different kinds of remote sensing data for archaeological applications
  • Examine and interpret remote sensing imagery for archaeological site detection
  • Generate a land cover raster from an orthorectified image for identifying patterns in the landscape.
  • Successfully complete chi-square tests (grad students)


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Remote Sensing assignment:

Shana Dooley

About Shana: Shana lives on a small sand spit in the Republic of the Marshall Islands; if you don’t know what that is, just picture sand, sand, and well more sand!  This dot of land is located west of Hawaii in the middle of a vast blue ocean.  Residing on an Army base, she works as an archaeologist for 2 of the islands which are both WWII National Battlefields.  Originally from the desert, Shana has made the best of island life taking up snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and sailing; all of the hobbies helped her expand the size of this dot of land considerably.  Shana is a member of the Archaeology tract and is interested in 3D mapping as she expands the skillset!  Welcome to the spotlight Shana!

What we like: The thing we particularly liked about Shana's classification is that she arrived at a puzzling result. Part of Monk's Mound, a large indigenous mound of earth, was classified along with modern buildings. Rather than attribute that result to the quality of the imagery, Shana was one of the few students who did extra research to discover what otherwise might produce this result.She discovered that the installation of drain pipes, and perhaps the presence of shallowly buried pavements, were capable to skewing her classification. This represented a novel approach and a wonderful example for researchers working with imagery to note.