Call for papers: Ambitions and realities - Remote Sensing for Archaeology

23/5/11 .-

Call for papers for the AARG/EARSel joint meeting "AMBITIONS AND REALITIES - Remote Sensing for Archaeology, Research and Conservation" held in Poznan, Poland 21 - 24 September this year.

Remote Sensing for Archaeology, Research and Conservation
A joint meeting of the Aerial Archaeology Research Group (AARG)
and European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories (EARSeL)
Poznan, Poland, 21-24 September 2011

The main - but not exclusive - theme of this conference will be exploration of objectives and challenges in the effective use of remote sensing techniques in archaeological and landscape studies, not only for research but also for the promotion of conservation and public understanding. How can our various techniques be deployed in combination with one another, and with what practical outcomes? How can we build bridges across regional or national divides? What can we learn from combining or comparing our techniques? How can we make our results useful to those involved in practical conservation and future planning? How do our national or regional realities assist or impede the use of remote sensing techniques in research, conservation and the promotion of public understanding?
Suggestions, with a maximum 150-word summary of the intended content, are invited on any of the following themes, or on other considerations relating to ambitions and realities in the fields of remote sensing for archaeology and landscape studies.

• Ambitions and impediments: national and regional realities across Europe.
• Sharing understanding and experience: creating conditions for international or interdisciplinary exchange and cooperation.
• Modelling the past for the future: accessibility of LiDAR and similar data for uses in research and conservation.
• Remote sensing applications in responding to infrastructure and development projects.
• ‘Crossover studies’: learning from comparisons and combinations of remote sensing (and other) techniques.
• Exploration + interpretation = understanding??? But whose understanding? And of what relevance to conservation and public appreciation?

Sessions already proposed, with contact details, are listed below.
For offers of papers or sessions (please send emails to both, or to the contact listed against sessions below):
Dave Cowley (AARG, RCAHMS, UK):
Rosa Lasaponara (EARSeL, CNR-IMAA, Italy):

How collaborations can benefit aerial archaeology
Anthony Beck & Veronique De Laet

We can all agree that collaboration is critical to the development of archaeological remote sensing. However, we rarely get the opportunity to think creatively about collaboration and find ways in which we can improve global impact and benefits. For example, specialists are developing tools for data management, manipulation, interpretation, etc. whilst remote sensing archaeologists are developing new methodologies in order to utilise and exploit new technology effectively. How can we collaborate to improve the methodology development cycle and facilitate methodology redeployment in new countries with different problems and constraints? This issue was tangentially discussed during the LiDAR sessions in 2010. As unstudied archives continue to grow we find our finances are increasingly tight. This is likely to continue and we will, therefore, never have the resources to address this problem using current approaches. Can we collaborate with different communities to address our data and resource issues? If so, how do we do this and what are the challenges, benefits and risks? Papers are invited on the topic of how the aerial archaeology community can collaborate more effectively both internally and with an engaged stakeholder community. Collaborative examples using Open Science, Linked Data, Open Data or Crowdsourcing methodologies are strongly encouraged.

Aerial remote sensing and related research in Poland and her near neighbours
Conference organising committee

As the AARG annual conference has moved around Europe, sessions designed to showcase work in the host country or region have become an important component of the conference. Papers are invited to present work in Poland and her near neighbours.

Flights into the past: from photo-interpretation to LiDAR elaboration and virtual reconstruction
Rosa Lasaponara & Michael Doneus

The recent increasing development of ground, aerial and space remote sensing techniques and the tremendous advances of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have focused a great interest in the use of remote sensing and ICT for supporting cultural heritage applications. In particular, the improved capability of active and passive aerial sensors has opened new challenges for the detection but also for the management, valorisation, monitoring and preservation of cultural resources and the virtual reconstruction of ancient landscapes. Additional strategic challenges to this field of research are related to the crucial importance of the integration of remote sensing with other traditional archaeological data sources, such as field surveys, trials, excavations and historical documentation.

This strategic integration requires great efforts aimed at creating a strong interaction among archaeologists, scientists and managers interested in using remote sensing and ICT for supporting cultural heritage applications. The continuous collaboration among scientists working in different fields of Cultural Heritage can contribute to take benefits from the new aerial sensors, for a wide range of investigation and application fields. A constructive and complementary multidisciplinary approach can open a revolutionary scenario unthinkable several decades ago.

The session will focus on new advanced technologies from hyperspectral to LiDAR and virtual reconstruction providing detailed information on data processing chain and study cases selected from different geographic regions

News and views from around Europe
Conference organising committee

One of the roles of international conferences is to exchange information and ideas about events or achievements in individual countries, regions or institutions, with a special focus on their potential relevance for colleagues elsewhere. This will be an open session in which speakers can highlight recent developments, discoveries or difficulties in their own countries, or seek advice in solving problems that may already have found solutions elsewhere. Contributions can be as short as the speakers wish to make them, up to a maximum of 20 minutes plus. Contributions for student researchers and ArchaeLandscapes projects are especially welcome.

Beyond ancient monuments: remote sensing for risk monitoring, environment and landscape characterisation
Nicola Masini & Rosa Lasaponara

This session invites papers that explore the role of remote sensing approaches in addressing issues in the wider sphere of landscape studies, ranging from broad-brush characterisation, to integration of archaeological concerns with management of unstable landforms and environmental and conservation issues. These connections are vital if the place of the historic environment is to be understood in the wider context of landscape management advocated, for example, by the European Landscape Convention.

What do we mean by ‘Landscape’
Conference organising committee

‘Landscape’ is now routinely used in a wide variety of contexts, and this session seeks to explore what we mean by 'landscapes' when we approach the subject primarily from a remote sensing perspective. Papers are invited that explore the issues of working in a landscape context, ranging across chronology, frameworks, intellectual traditions, scale and policy. What sort or amount of linking or contextual information do we have to recover before we can talk realistically about an ancient 'landscape' as distinct from a series of 'sites'? Is the reality in fact out of our grasp except in very rare circumstances? Can we produce worthwhile interpretations, speculations or 'outputs' on more fragmentary evidence? Does the search for the ideal sometimes hold us back from seeking, or trying to explain/interpret, evidence of a more fragmentary nature?
Contributions that explore personal views on ‘What landscape means to me?’ are welcome.

Talking amongst ourselves – talking to others: rethinking the roles of research groups in the 21st century
Conference organising committee

The world of archaeological remote sensing has witnessed a proliferation of special interest groups – aerial archaeology and satellite archaeology amongst them. Some groups are long-standing, others the product of new realities, but at the start of the second decade of the 21st century as a broad remote sensing community reflection on what directions we should be moving in are timely. Integration is a keynote of many conferences, and collaboration is unarguably important, reflected, for example, in the ‘Remote Sensing’ working part of AARG, ISAP and EAC.

Papers are invited that reflect on what directions special interest groups, such as AARG, ISAP, the RPSoc Archaeology Special Interest Group and EASRSeL archaeology SIG should move in? How do we make connections between differing approaches, intellectual traditions and data sources? How do we best maintain the focussed groups that allow discussion and development of specialist techniques? How does the history of specialist groups inform contemporary realities and help us think about future directions? Is an expansionist agenda necessarily the right one? What is the role of the internet and increasingly mass communication in these processes (e.g. Google Groups etc.)? The principal question underlying this reflection is ‘why do we define particular special interest groups and do we need them?’

Philippe Fajon

Archaeogeography is a discipline that ‘deals’ with the dynamics of space over time. It helps to explore new dimensions of geo-historical objects, in a different way than used before by the disciplines of historical geography, the geo-history, landscape archaeology or environmental one.

Archaeogeography is still young in its formalization (Chouquer 2007, 2008; Robert 2003; Robert & Costa 2009; Watteau, 2009), but already changing in its concepts. If it search to integrate the elements of human presence in space planning in reading about the long term, other issues need to be consider. It looks at specific cartographic and photographic documentation by associating the various sources of information in a cumulative process that can read inheritances, recurrences and innovations in land use. Data from aerial photography and satellite will occupy an important place.

Today, archaeogeography is used in research in the history of landscapes, local history and geography, in France where the discipline was formalized, and in other countries (see indicative bibliography). This research may find a resonance with European partners who use steps and a close or similar intellectual posture.

A selected bibliography and more information is available at:

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