CORONA Satellite Photography: An Archaeological Application from the Middle East

By Philip, G.; Donoghue, D. et al. | Antiquity, March 2002 | Go to article overview

CORONA Satellite Photography: An Archaeological Application from the Middle East


Philip, G., Donoghue, D., Beck, A., Galiatsatos, N., Antiquity


Introduction

While the value of satellite imagery to archaeology is increasingly apparent, most current applications involve its use for environmental reconstruction (e.g. Ostir et al. 1999; Marcolongo & Barisano 2000). Because of the relatively low spatial resolution of the most familiar types of imagery (e.g. 30 m for Landsat multispectral data), these are of limited applicability for the identification of individual archaeological features (Kennedy 1998: 555). The resolution issue may explain the rarity of publications which document the systematic use of satellite imagery in the context of archaeological survey in the Mediterranean and Middle East (Sarris & Jones 2000: 53; Wilkinson 2000: 228).

Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery has been used to aid the identication of settlements and `linear hollows' around sites in the Jazira of north Iraq (Wilkinson & Tucker 1995: 16-17, 25), and alongside SPOT panchromatic data (10m resolution) to identify south Mesopotamian tell-sites and ancient irrigation canals previously known from air-photographs (Verhoeven & Dales 1994: 535). However, the effectiveness of satellite imagery alone for the identification of archaeological features remains uncertain because the latter report, while referring to sites as small as 1 ha in area (Verhoeven & Dales 1994: 537-9, figures 11, 13), does not make it clear by which of these means the smaller sites were, in fact, identified.

However, the declassification of military satellite photography in recent years, in particular Russian KVR 1000 and American CORONA imagery (1) offers researchers the ability to identify linear structures such as walls, tracks, and individual features measuring no more than a few metres in diameter; see Comfort et al. (2000: 103-6, 122-3, figures 3-5) for a brief comparison of the two types of data. As Kennedy (1998) has pointed out, such imagery is of great potential value for archaeology in parts of the world for which detailed maps and good air-photographic data have traditionally been hard to obtain. The discussion below documents one such case.

Settlement and Landscape Development in the Homs Region, Syria (SHR) is a joint Syrian-British co-operative project organized by the University of Durham and the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), Syria (FIGURE 1). It is a multidisciplinary regional project designed to take a long-term perspective on the relationship between human activity and landscape development in the upper Orontes Valley (Philip et al. in press). As such, the effective identification of hitherto undocumented loci of past human activity is of prime importance.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The project comprises a northern and a southern study area, with a combined area of approximately 600 sq. [km.sup.2] (FIGURE 2). Traditional subsistence strategies in this area have been dominated by rain-fed cereal cultivation, supplemented by tree crops. Preliminary assessment in 1998 indicated the presence of typical near-eastern tell sites, most of which appear on the current Syrian 1:50,000 maps, but also numerous low mounds and flat sites indicated by surface artefact scatters. A marked proportion of the latter do not appear on the maps, suggesting that they are significantly underrepresented within the current information base. As there had been little previous archaeological survey work in the area west of Homs, and neither aerial-photography nor topographic mapping at scales greater than 1:50000 were then available? SHR required a means of focusing field investigation, and thus increasing the rate at which an overall impression of the quantity, nature and distribution of archaeological remains could be obtained. A potential solution appeared to lie in the recently declassified CORONA imagery.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

CORONA

The CORONA project operated from 1960 to 1972 during which time a series of satellites collected photographic intelligence for the United States military. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

CORONA Satellite Photography: An Archaeological Application from the Middle East
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.