CORONA Satellite Photography and Ancient Road Networks: A Northern Mesopotamian Case Study
CitationUr, Jason A. 2003. CORONA satellite photography and ancient road networks: A Northern Mesopotamian case study. Antiquity 77(295): 102-115.
AbstractLandscape archaeology has emphasised the role of the entire landscape in ancient life, rather than putting an exclusive focus on those loci of intensive behaviour we call “sites.” The broader area of interest requires a corresponding reduction in intensity, the difference between digging a 100 m2 trench and surveying a 200 km2 region. In order to study entire regions efficiently, landscape archaeologists have normally turned to remote sensing data sources. In the Middle East, aerial photographs have been difficult to obtain, so these sources have generally been limited to low resolution SPOT and LANDSAT imagery, which are sufficient for geomorphological studies but too coarse to detect most archaeological landscape features. Archaeologists working in the Middle East are now beginning to take advantage of a newly available resource, the declassified CORONA satellite program, which combines the large coverage of the modern low resolution satellites with the high resolution of aerial photography. In this case study, I have used CORONA photographs to identify and map ancient road systems in north-eastern Syria (Figure 1).
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