Application of remote sensing in cultural heritage management – Project report 2011


The 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 lidar data; these pits could be pitfall traps or charcoal burning pits.

This note describes the achievements of the project during 2011. The project is funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

In 2011, the method for automatic detection of pits in lidar data was further developed, and is now being used operationally by Oppland County as part of their cultural heritage survey work. The next step is to include automatic detection of grave mounds in lidar data in CultSearcher. This work has started, and will continue in 2012.

We have continued to monitor the Brunlanes and Tjølling study areas in Vestfold County with Worldview-2 satellite images. Unfortunately, a very wet summer prevented crop marks from developing in the fields. For two of the crop mark locations in 2009/2010 satellite images, archaeological field work was done, confirming the presence of circular ditches corresponding to the crop marks.