Michael Doneus / Martin Fera / Martin Janner
(Universität Wien, Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Austria)
Systematic detection of archaeological sites in woodland is one of the unsolved problems in archaeological prospection resulting – not only in Austria – in a big deficit of archaeological knowledge of forested areas.
Over the past few years airborne laser scanning, also known as LIDAR (Light Direction and Ranging), has been used to produce high precision terrain models. Its applications in archaeology are successful but still rare, and it turned out to be a possible tool that can help to solve the problems with the recognition and measurement of preserved sites in forested areas.
To explore the potential of LIDAR for Archaeological Prospection in a densely forested area, a project was launched beginning of 2006 at the Institute for Prehistory and Early History in Vienna. Within the project, which is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (P18674-G02), we try to evaluate an approx. 190 sq km forest area within the Leitha mountain range, 40 km southeast of Vienna.
During the first phase of the project, a test scan covering two 4 sq km large areas was performed. The areas were carefully chosen and represent different kind of canopy (bushes, trees with and without brushwood) above already known archaeological sites (earthworks, tumuli, ruined buildings, stone quarry and single walls).Several of the covered archaeological features were surveyed terrestrially using a total station and a terrestrial laser scanner. The results of the ground survey will be compared with the results of LIDAR to assess its potential as well as its limitations for archaeological prospection. During the lecture, the results of the test scan will be demonstrated and discussed.