Archaeology

Our services add value by assisting Archaeologists:

  • To select and interpret remotely-sensed data.

John Berry Associates is familiar with all of the wide range of remote sensing data available, its capabilities, the vendors, and their prices. Thus we may direct Archaeologists to the best data sets for their problems, guide them as to the best acquisition parameters, help them select the best ambient conditions under which to acquire airborne or spaceborne data. In addition, we have the interpretation expertise to make the best archaeological use of the data.

  • To map coastal changes and determine the existence and location of drowned beaches or cultural complexes.

John Berry Associates has an immense amount of experience in the interpretation of space imagery of coastal areas. In many areas the existence of raised beaches is well known: remote sensing imagery documents that there are just as many drowned beaches. For example, in the area between Alexandria and El Alamein up to 11 drowned beaches are distinguishable on certain images. Similarly, there are areas in which suitable images show sea-bed features of possible archaeological interest: one of these is offshore Durres, Albania. In many other areas bays have been filled by fluvial sediments or reclaimed and coastlines have advanced or receded: it is often necessary to understand these changes in order to understand the archaeological record. The same is true inland: vast changes have taken place in Tuscany’s Valdichiano since the Etruscan period and these must be understood before Etruscan economic relationships can be understood.

  • To determine the provenance of cultural objects or building materials.

Modern hyperspectral remote sensing devices can be thought of as airborne or spaceborne infrared reflectance spectrometers. Equivalent instruments have been built for use in the field, often to “ground-truth” remote sensing data, but also to map the subtle mineralogical changes around orebodies. These same instruments can be used to characterize the mineralogy of archaeological artifacts made from earth materials – of pottery and bricks, of “tufo” used as building stone and of materials used for sculpture. No destructive sampling is needed: the instrument is simply pointed at the object and its spectrum recorded. For the shorter wavelengths, this can even be done through glass. The resulting spectra consist of up to about 200 individual measurements, and can be grouped into classes of related spectra and, with luck, related to the source of the material used.