The paper concerns the contribution of high resolution satellite images to the production of base-maps and cartographies
for archaeological research, using both during field work and in GIS dedicated to Cultural Heritage. Particularly, some
experiences conducted during researches on Turkish and Iraqi archaeological sites are presented, where the use of
satellite images was necessary because of both large scale cartographies and aero-photogrammetrical photos are not
In the case of archaeological surveys in Hierapolis of Phrygia (south-western Turkey) they provided a fundamental tool
for the research on the ground and for the analysis and management of data in the archaeological GIS of the territory.
Ikonos-2 and QuickBird-2 images were ortho-rectified with the use of GCPs (taken with a differential GPS) and with
DEMs and DSMs processed thanks different remote sensing data, radar (SRTM) and optical (Ikonos-2 and ASTER
stereo-pairs), for the creation of space-maps and the extraction of cartographical elements: these (hydrology, modern
topography, field boundaries, archaeological remains and traces, etc.) were used with the aims of the creation of new
maps for archaeological purpose (the orography was extracted from DEMs) and the update of the existing ones.
In the case of some ancient sites studied for the contextualization of the objects showed in the Virtual Museum of Iraq,
high resolution images of the same satellites (and of WorldView-1) were ortho-rectified without GPCs and used for the
creation or the update of the archaeological maps (generally very old), on which plans of excavated structures, recent
discoveries, and archaeological traces and paleo-environmental elements were geo-referenced.
The paper concerns the contribution for Landscape Archaeology from satellite images of 1960s and 1970s, very useful
when old aerial photographs are scarce. Particularly, the study concerns the panchromatic photos taken by USA
reconnaissance satellites from 1963 to 1972, declassified for civil use in 1995 and 2002, that in the last years are very
used in the archaeological research; in fact, a lot of these images have an high geometric resolution, about between 2.74
and 1.83 m (Corona KH-4A and KH-4B), and some have a ground resolution about between 1.20 and 0.60 m (Gambit
KH-7). These satellite images allow to examine very in detail ancient urban areas and territories that later are changed or
partially destroyed; so, it is possible to detect and examine ancient structures, palaeo-environmental elements and
archaeological traces of buried features now not visible. The paper presents some exemplificative cases study in Turkey
and Iraq, in which the analysis of these images has made a fundamental contribution to the archaeological researches:
particularly, for the reconstruction of the urban layout of the ancient city of Hierapolis of Phrygia and for the surveys in
its territory, and for the study of the ancient topography of some archaeological sites of Iraq. In this second case, the
research is gained in the context of the Iraq Virtual Museum Project; the comparison with recent high resolution satellite
images (Ikonos-2, QuickBird-2, WorldView-1) also provide a fundamental tool for monitoring archaeological areas and
for an evaluation of the situation after the first and the second Gulf War.
The paper concerns the results of a research project on the application in archaeological survey of high resolution images
of the QuickBird 2 satellite. The research is carried out within the activities of the Italian Archaeological Mission at
Hierapolis of Phrygia (Turkey). The use of satellite images with high geometric, radiometric and spectral resolutions has
constituted an important tool for archaeological research in the city and in the surrounding area, because vertical aerial
photographies and recent and detailed cartographies are non-available. In fact the exceptional spatial resolution of the
images makes them comparable to aerial photos on a medium scale; this type of documentation has an enormous
potential in the study of urban and territorial ancient contexts. The examination of these images has permitted to detect
surface anomalies and traces linked to archaeological buried structures or to paleo-environmental elements; moreover,
particulary in the territory, the panchromatic images were georeferenced and used as the base field maps for the survey,
in integration with GPS systems. The study of the satellite images and the ground truth verify have made fundamental
contributions to the reconstruction of the urban layout of Hierapolis. Also much interesting were the results obtained in
the territory of the city, with the integration of remote sensing and archaeological survey; the researches recovered
numerous and important data on necropolis, aqueducts, roads, farms, quarries and villages dependent from Hierapolis.
All the data collected are integrating into a GIS to produce archaeological maps.