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Finding a Relatively Flat Archaeological Site with Minimal Ceramics: A Case Study from Iraqi Kurdistan

Altaweel, M; Squitieri, A; (2019) Finding a Relatively Flat Archaeological Site with Minimal Ceramics: A Case Study from Iraqi Kurdistan. Journal of Field Archaeology , 44 (8) pp. 523-537. 10.1080/00934690.2019.1662269. Green open access

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Abstract

We present a new technique to detect flat archaeological sites with minimal ceramics using an unmanned aerial vehicle that maps surface stone concentrations. Methods deployed include point pattern analysis of stone concentrations and a machine learning technique using unsupervised classification of visible stone signature qualities, where these results are used in linear regressions to compare with geophysical and ceramic surface survey results of a site in Iraqi Kurdistan. There is a stronger fit (r2=0.77) between surface stone concentrations and architecture identified by geophysical measurement, while surveyed ceramics show a weaker fit to defined architecture (r2=0.31). Surface stone concentrations are potentially a better proxy than ceramics for determining the presence of past settlement in regions where stone was commonly used, sites are relatively flat, and ceramics are found in low concentrations. The methods advanced here can be scaled to wider areas, particularly in mountainous regions, with surface stone features present.

Type: Article
Title: Finding a Relatively Flat Archaeological Site with Minimal Ceramics: A Case Study from Iraqi Kurdistan
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/00934690.2019.1662269
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/00934690.2019.1662269
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: remote sensing; site detection; geophysics; stone concentration; pottery survey; image classification; UAV; machine learning
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10077507
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