Friday, April 15, 2011

Revised Permits Guide and Remote Sensing in Archaeology

Argilos, Southeast Sector
The Hellenic Republic formally recognizes the Institute as one of the 17 foreign archaeological institutes and schools. One of the privileges that this official status confers each institute/school is the ability for its members under the aegis of the institute/school to conduct a specified number of archaeological fieldwork projects each year either alone or in cooperation (synergasia) with Greek colleagues in the Archaeological Service.

Several years ago my predecessor as Director, Dr Stefanie Kennell, prepared a guide for Canadian permit applicants and holders that was posted on our website. This winter Jonathan and I, in consultation with the Institute’s Permits Committee and other interested members of the Board of Directors, have revised, expanded and reorganized the CIG Guide for Permit Applicants and Permit Holders. It is now available for consultation through our website. The terms, conditions and requirements will apply to all projects in the field or in study season from this summer onwards. It should be noted that for those projects that have finished their fieldwork many of the new provisions will apply to them as well. I would be happy to answer any questions that may arise from these changes.

Book of the Blog
In the half century since the term “remote sensing” was first used in 1960 to designate the collection of various types of data and imagery at a distance from the earth’s surface the use has expanded rapidly in type and in terms of the number of practitioners. Most of this development was driven by the needs of the Cold War and later by interest in the earth’s fragile environment. Archaeologists gradually migrated from the use of low- and high-level aerial photography to satellite imagery with its multispectral capabilities when these collection sources were declassified and commercial ventures launched their own satellites with high resolution imagery. The Institute’s Leukos Survey Project on Karpathos uses Quickbird imagery from DigitalGlobe. Remote sensing and the advent of GIS produced complementary synergies and opportunities to integrate and to interpret large and diverse datasets. In the same period various ground-based geophysical prospecting techniques were developed to detect surface and subsurface archaeological information and features.

In August 2009, the Third International Conference on Remote Sensing in Archaeology was held in India. Fifty-eight papers were given on a wide variety of themes, collection and analytical techniques and interpretational approaches. These have been published in Space, Time, and Place (BAR International Series 2118, Oxford, 2010) under the editorship of S. Campana, M. Forte and C. Liuzza. All areas of the world are included, focusing on a wide sweep of ancient cultures in addition to technical case studies. The volume has ample illustrative materials, many of them in color, and numerous links to websites. Of particular interest to Aegean basin researchers of all stripes are the following: Lewis Lancaster’s (University of California, Berkeley) “Remote Sensing and the Humanities”, and the sessions on “3D Remote Sensing”, “Cultural and Natural Sites Resource Management”, “Digital Cultural Atlases and Cultural Atlas Components” and “Cultural Atlas of Remote Sense Sites: A Portal for Data”. The contributions in this thick volume offer numerous ideas and approaches for one to follow up on with a high potential for advancing our knowledge and understanding of the past cultures in the Aegean basin. The Institute’s Library has other volumes and collections of papers that relate to this broad topic and to GIS.

In an earlier blog I made the promise to Canadian authors that if they donated their publications to the Institute’s Library it would be featured in a Book of the Blog. Now I am extending this offer to other scholars who generously donate their publications relating to Greek archaeology or to classical studies to the Institute. So, be the first on your block to have your book or edited volume reviewed in this exclusive collection!

Kalo Pascha,
David Rupp

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