Application of Remote Sensing in Cultural Heritage Management. Project report 2012

  • Øivind Due Trier
  • Steinar Kristensen
  • Siri Øyen Larsen
  • Lars Holger Pilø
  • Knut Harald Stomsvik


This project was started in 2002 with the overall aim of developing a cost-effective method for surveying and monitoring cultural heritage sites on a regional and national scale. The project focuses on the development of automated pattern recognition methods for detecting and locating cultural heritage sites. The pattern recognition methods are included in a prototype software called CultSearcher. This software currently supports the following: (1) Search for crop marks and soil marks in optical satellite and aerial imagery; these marks could be levelled grave mounds. (2) Search for pits in airborne laser scanning (ALS) data; these pits could be pitfall traps or charcoal burning pits. (3) Search for heaps in ALS data; these heaps could be Iron Age or Bronze Age grave mounds.

This note describes the achievements of the project during 2012. The project is funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. In 2012, the method for automatic pit detection was used on several ALS datasets from Oppland County, as part of their on-going mapping of cultural heritage in areas with planned land development. A method for automatic heap detection was developed, and used in the mapping of grave mounds in Larvik municipality, Vestfold County. As a result of this, a previously unknown Iron Age grave field was discovered. The project is continuing to acquiring Worldview-2 satellite images of selected areas to monitor these for crop marks in cereal fields. In 2012, an image of Ørland, Sør-Trøndelag County, was acquired, but no clear crop marks were detected.