(Archaeological Heritage Office of Saxony, Germany)

Abstract: Ancient roads are important components of the cultural heritage. Preserved remains have to be protected as monuments. But the documentation is often insufficient, because historical sources often deliver only topological features without specific route descriptions.

The evaluation of ancient maps without GIS is hard and tricky. On-site prospection of terrain is expensive and time consuming. But modern GIS technology and high resolution remote sensing data allow a change. Ancient maps can be georeferenced with reasonable effort and evaluation of remote sensing data (DTM, DOP, CIR) replaces on-site prospection.

Prepared in this way, it is possible to prospect large regions from the desktop. In this manner about 400 km of ancient roads where studied, assumed to be part of the Via Regia. The Result is a documentation of visible preserved remains from ancient roads, just like hollow ways or crop-marks.

Most details of the used methods are well known, but falling prices allow the application even with rather low budgets. The method supports the practice of heritage protection not only for small project regions but state wide for the entire region of Saxony.

Keywords: archaeological prospection, remote sensing, via regia, heritage protection