Detection of Subsurface Archaeological Architecture by Computer Assisted Airphoto Interpretation

Scott A. Weber, Stephen R. Yool

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Computer-assisted enhancement of scanned historical airphotos demonstrates successful detection and mapping of subsurface archaeological features. Results show a locally adaptive contrast enhancement filter produced the best resolution of lineaments. Such enhancements can enable reconstruction of protohistoric architecture despite modern construction. The city-state of Idalion is used here as a case study to demonstrate enhancement. Results are confirmed by excavation of Idalion architecture. Idalion was a thriving metropolis during Cypro-Archaic to Roman times , surrounded by a 9.6 km defensive wall. The area within may still contain significant amounts of unmapped architecture. Some of this architecture was mapped previously from aerial photographs using manual interpretation techniques, but never excavated as proof of detection. Guided by enhanced imagery, our excavations confirmed the location of five towers/bastions along the city wall. Enhanced airphotos also revealed a region disturbed by contemporary construction of a water pipeline. Such information is important to archaeologists planning digs, and can be acquired using standard digital image processing techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-493
Number of pages13
JournalGeoarchaeology - An International Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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