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Remote Sensing Methods and Approaches for Underwater Cultural Heritage Research and Management

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 29 July 2024 | Viewed by 2284

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Insitute of Heritage Science (ISPC), National Research Council (CNR), Naples, Italy
Interests: acoustic remote sensing; seabed archaeology; underwater cultural heritage; marine geophysics; habitat mapping

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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Geophysical Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeoenvironment (GeoSat ReSeArch Lab), Institute for Mediterranean Studies (IMS), Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH), Rethymno, Greece
Interests: archaeological geophysics; remote sensing; geoinformatics in cultural/natural heritage and environmental management
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A substantial quantity of prehistoric and historic cultural heritage is now underwater. Sea level fluctuations over the past millennia have periodically inundated coastal settlements that, for prehistoric and historic humans, were their gateways to marine resources as well as transport and migration routes. These natural factors integrated with associated pressures from anthropogenic activities formulate a constantly evolving environment, exposing the cultural resources in these zones to decay and destruction. At the same time, wreck sites, i.e., sunken ships and aircraft and any material associated with such vessels, are now submerged at various depths in both marine and inland waters. All these generate the necessity to plan, organize and implement actions to document and preserve the coastal and shallow submerged cultural material, assuring its accessibility and protection for future generations. Among recent technologies enabling the study of the marine environment, remote sensing technologies provide fast and cost-effective tools that are now being applied to the documentation and monitoring of underwater cultural and natural resources. These methods are indeed highly effective for the study of the UCH, providing baseline data for the management and protection of underwater cultural sites.

The exploration, documentation and monitoring of underwater cultural heritage (UCH) remain challenging, stimulating the research, design and development of new sensors, devices, techniques and methods to provide a continuous overview of the seabed environment and associated cultural features. Currently, a variety of sensing methods based on acoustics, optics, and electro-magnetics provide the maritime (geo)archaeological community with significant opportunities for re-defining the procedures for site mapping/formation, evaluation and monitoring. Active acoustic remote sensing encompasses a range of sonar systems including multibeam echosounders (MBES),  sidescan sonar (SSS) and sub-bottom profilers (SBP) for mapping underwater cultural and natural resources. Optical sensing technologies applied to UCH include underwater RGB and hyperspectral imaging for object inspection and reconstruction, while electro-magnetic technologies are used for underwater metal detection and to reconstruct the buried built environment in marine coastal and very shallow submerged areas.

This Special Issue focuses on underwater remote sensing technologies and methodological approaches that are currently used for the investigation, documentation, and monitoring of UCH. Researchers and authors are invited to submit studies covering different uses of remote sensing and geophysical methodologies by different sensors and platforms for the characterization and mapping of seabed archaeology and underwater cultural landscapes. Multisource data integration (e.g., bathymetry, backscatter and visual inspection) and multiscale approaches are particularly welcome. Topics of interest for this Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Acoustic remote sensing methods for the characterization and mapping of UCH;
  • Geophysical methods for maritime and underwater CH research;
  • Coastal and offshore geophysical imaging of buried CH;
  • Lidar technologies for coastal and nearshore CH research;
  • Underwater photogrammetry;
  • Satellite remote sensing for coastal and marine CH research;
  • Development of sensors and ICT/IoT tools for monitoring and interpretation of UCH;
  • Spatial modeling of seabed archaeological targets/structures;
  • Automated methods for digital classification and mapping of UCH;
  • Marine remote sensing techniques/technologies for monitoring of UCH;
  • Marine geoarchaeological research;
  • Underwater hyperspectral imaging of UCH.

Dr. Crescenzo Violante
Dr. Nikos Papadopoulos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • underwater and maritime cultural heritage
  • underwater cultural landscape
  • underwater and maritime geoarchaeology
  • underwater acoustic remote sensing
  • marine archaeo-geophysics
  • electrical resistivity tomography
  • underwater photogrammetry
  • satellite remote sensing
  • underwater hyperspectral imaging

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 15715 KiB  
Article
A Semi-Automatic-Based Approach to the Extraction of Underwater Archaeological Features from Ultra-High-Resolution Bathymetric Data: The Case of the Submerged Baia Archaeological Park
by Nicodemo Abate, Crescenzo Violante and Nicola Masini
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(11), 1908; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs16111908 - 25 May 2024
Viewed by 438
Abstract
Coastal and underwater archaeological sites pose significant challenges in terms of investigation, conservation, valorisation, and management. These sites are often at risk due to climate change and various human-made impacts such as urban expansion, maritime pollution, and natural deterioration. However, advances in remote [...] Read more.
Coastal and underwater archaeological sites pose significant challenges in terms of investigation, conservation, valorisation, and management. These sites are often at risk due to climate change and various human-made impacts such as urban expansion, maritime pollution, and natural deterioration. However, advances in remote sensing (RS) and Earth observation (EO) technologies applied to cultural heritage (CH) sites have led to the development of various techniques for underwater cultural heritage (UCH) exploration. The aim of this work was the evaluation of an integrated methodological approach using ultra-high-resolution (UHR) bathymetric data to aid in the identification and interpretation of submerged archaeological contexts. The study focused on a selected area of the submerged Archaeological Park of Baia (Campi Flegrei, south Italy) as a test site. The study highlighted the potential of an approach based on UHR digital bathymetric model (DBM) derivatives and the use of machine learning and statistical techniques to automatically extract and discriminate features of archaeological interest from other components of the seabed substrate. The results achieved accuracy rates of around 90% and created a georeferenced vector map similar to that usually drawn by hand by archaeologists. Full article
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18 pages, 3619 KiB  
Article
Satellite-Derived Bathymetry in Support of Maritime Archaeological Research—VENμS Imagery of Caesarea Maritima, Israel, as a Case Study
by Gerardo Diaz, Yoav Lehahn and Emmanuel Nantet
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(7), 1218; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs16071218 - 29 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1385
Abstract
Deriving bathymetry by means of multispectral satellite imagery proves to be a replicable method, offering high-resolution coverage over large areas while keeping costs low. Maritime archaeologists often require bathymetric mapping at a high resolution and with a large spatial coverage. In this paper, [...] Read more.
Deriving bathymetry by means of multispectral satellite imagery proves to be a replicable method, offering high-resolution coverage over large areas while keeping costs low. Maritime archaeologists often require bathymetric mapping at a high resolution and with a large spatial coverage. In this paper, we demonstrate the implementation of SDB in maritime archaeology using high-resolution (5 m/pixel) data from Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New Micro-Satellite (VENμS) imagery. We focus on the area of the Roman harbour of Sebastos, located at Caesarea Maritima along the Israeli coast of the Eastern Mediterranean. For extracting SDB, we take an empirical approach, which is based on the integration of satellite imagery and sonar depth measurements, resulting in a blue-green band ratio algorithm that provides reliable results up to a water depth of 17 m. Comparison with in situ depth measurements yielded an RMSE of 0.688 m. The SDB mapping is complemented by satellite-based identification of above- and below-water rocks. The presented approach can readily be replicated in other regions using various types of multispectral satellite imagery, particularly when only coarse bathymetric sonar data are available, thus substantially contributing to our ability to perform maritime archaeological research. Full article
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