The identification of buried archaeological structures, using remote sensing technologies is based on the principle that any buried ruins, either of human or natural origin, affects over time, soil surface characteristics creating anomalies.
These anomalies are due to different factors, such as soil physical and chemical features, and vegetation cover status. The above factors are strictly connected and are responsible of surface spectral responses.
Several images processing are applied and their results compared in order to define the one that fits better the various archaeological research goals. Among them, Vegetation Indices revealed to be very useful archaeological study.
Spectral Vegetation Indices are important products in observing spatial and temporal variations of vegetation biophysical properties and photosynthetic activities, by which is possible to analyse the effects of buried ruins presence on vegetation cover status.
The aim of this work is to assess the usefulness of vegetation indices in order to identify archaeological traces and verify the quantitative estimates of presence of buried archaeological structures in every type of elaboration (RVI, VIN, NDVI and SAVI).
Statistical analysis were conducted on several Italian archaeological test sites processing by hyperspectral MIVIS (Multispectral Infrared and Visible Imaging Spectrometer) various typologies of vegetation cover.
The study of these anomalies on MIVIS hyperspectral data is the main goal of a research project that the CNR-IIA has carried ahead since 1994 over some archaeological sites: Selinunte, Lilybaeum, Sipontum and Arpi. The Arpi area could be considered as the wider Pre-roman settlement in Italy.
The identification of buried archaeological structures, using remote sensing technologies (aerophotos or satellite and
airborne images) is based on the analysis of surface spectral features changes that overlying underground terrain units,
located on the basis of texture variations, humidity and vegetation cover.
The study of these anomalies on MIVIS (Multispectral Infrared and Visible Imaging Spectrometer) hyperspectral data is
the main goal of a research project that the CNR-IIA has carried on over different archaeological test sites.
The major archaeological information were gathered by data analysis in the VIS and NIR spectral region and by use of
the apparent thermal inertia image and their different vegetation index.
In the last 20 years air photograph and remote sensing, both from airplane and satellite, allowed to gain, from the analysis of the superficial land unit characteristics, useful information for the location of buried archaeological structures. For this kind of investigation, hyperspectral MIVIS (Multispectral Infrared and Visible Imaging Spectrometer) data revealed to be very useful, for example, since 1994, for the purpose CNR-LARA research project, many archaeological studies have been supported by MIVIS data on several italian archaeological sites: Selinunte, Arpi (Foggia), Villa Adriana (Tivoli) and Marsala. Marsala town, the ancient Lilybaeum, lies on the western coastline of Sicily, at about 30 km south of Trapani. Founded by the Phoenicians, it intensely lived during the Punic, Roman, Arab and Norman periods, whose dominations left many important remains. This archaeological area was investigated by means of several techniques, such as excavations, topographic studies based on airborne campaigns, etc. On this site the main archaeological information were provided by the analysis of the VIS-NIR spectral bands and by Thermal Capacity image.