University of Oulu

Silver, K., Silver, M., Törmä, M., Okkonen, J., and Okkonen, T.: Applying satellite data sources in the documentation and landscape modelling for Graeco-Roman/Byzantine fortified sites in the Tūr Abdin area, Eastern Turkey, ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., IV-2/W2, 251-258,, 2017

Applying satellite data sources in the documentation and landscape modelling for Graeco-Roman/Byzantine fortified sites in the Tūr Abdin area, Eastern Turkey

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Author: Silver, Kenneth1; Silver, Minna2; Törmä, Markus3;
Organizations: 1The Institute for Digital Archaeology
2Oulu University
3Aalto University
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Copernicus Publications, 2017
Publish Date: 2018-02-07


In 2015–2016 the Finnish-Swedish Archaeological Project in Mesopotamia (FSAPM) initiated a pilot study of an unexplored area in the Tūr Abdin region in Northern Mesopotamia (present-day Mardin Province in southeastern Turkey). FSAPM is reliant on satellite image data sources for prospecting, identifying, recording, and mapping largely unknown archaeological sites as well as studying their landscapes in the region. The purpose is to record and document sites in this endangered area for saving its cultural heritage. The sites in question consist of fortified architectural remains in an ancient border zone between the Graeco-Roman/Byzantine world and Parthia/Persia. The location of the archaeological sites in the terrain and the visible archaeological remains, as well as their dimensions and sizes were determined from the ortorectified satellite images, which also provided coordinates. In addition, field documentation was carried out in situ with photographs and notes. The applicability of various satellite data sources for the archaeological documentation of the project was evaluated. Satellite photographs from three 1968 CORONA missions, i.e. the declassified US government satellite photograph archives were acquired. Furthermore, satellite images included a recent GeoEye-1 Satellite Sensor Image from 2010 with a resolution of 0.5 m. Its applicability for prospecting archaeological sites, studying the terrain and producing landscape models in 3D was confirmed. The GeoEye-1 revealed the ruins of a fortified town and a fortress for their documentation and study. Landscape models for the area of these sites were constructed fusing GeoEye-1 with EU-DEM (European Digital Elevation Model data using SRTM and ASTER GDEM data) in order to understand their locations in the terrain.

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Series: ISPRS annals of the photogrammetry, remote sensing and spatial information sciences
ISSN: 2194-9042
ISSN-E: 2194-9050
ISSN-L: 2194-9042
Issue: IV-2/W2
Pages: 251 - 258
DOI: 10.5194/isprs-annals-IV-2-W2-251-2017
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
615 History and archaeology
Funding: Funding was received from The Rausing Foundation, Sweden and Thure Gallén Foundation, Finland, which we gratefully acknowledge.
Copyright information: © Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.