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REmote SEnsing techniques for ARCHaeology

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RESEARCH (REmote SEnsing techniques for ARCHaeology)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-10-31

Europe has rich and diverse cultural heritage resources, which include urban and rural landscapes, including standing monuments and archaeological remains. Nowadays Europe’s Archaeological Heritage (AH) is at risk, endangered by environmental processes and anthropogenic pressures. Physical and chemical destruction and degradation of structures and artifacts amplify the natural deterioration and reduce the ability of the soil to preserve AH. In addition to physical damages, the intensive human activities and the effects of climate changes are responsible for the increase of soil erosion affecting structure stability and producing significant negative consequences on the conservation of the archaeological artifacts. In this scenario, authorities in charge of AH preservation have a strong requirement for systematic, effective, usable and affordable tools and services to monitor the degradation process, to enable preventive maintenance, and to reduce the cost of the restoration. The new available terrestrial and aerial (UAV) remote sensing (RS) tools, together with the broad spectra of Satellite Earth Observations (EO) provide the ideal platform to undertake a wide range of effective, cost-efficient and up-to-date programmable analysis, as a support to traditional tools.

RESEARCH addresses the design and development of a multi-task platform, combining advanced remote sensing technologies with GIS applications for mapping and long-term monitoring of AH in order to identify changes due to climate changes and anthropic pressures. The remote sensing processing chain will address the major soil-related risks affecting AH including the degradation due to land movement, soil erosion, and land-use change, as risks due to environmental and anthropic pressures.
To carry out the demonstration and validation of the Platform, four case studies have been selected:

* Falerii Novi (Italy);
* Amathùs (Cyprus);
* Almyriotiki (Greece);
* Itanos (Greece);
* Vaitsi Mill (Greece);
* Sławno-Darłowo area (Poland). In particular: Darłowo monastery, Cisowo, Dzierżęcin.

RESEARCH objectives require the effort of specialists in different disciplines, such as archaeologists, environmental engineers, geologists, experts in remote sensing technologies and GIS platforms. The Project will coordinate the existing expertise and research efforts of seven beneficiaries into a synergetic plan of collaborations and exchanges of personnel to offer a comprehensive transfer of knowledge and training environment for the researchers in the specific area.
Project’s activities and results will be shared following a dissemination and communication strategy, targeting specialists in the field of archaeology, earth science and environmental sciences, and authorities/stakeholders responsible for the preservation of cultural heritage.
"During the first 24 months of project, Partners focused on the state of the art and the data processing chain for land movements, soil erosion, and land use/cover change, in order to produce detailed reports regarding the contribution and the potential use of different techniques currently applied for the assessment of the phenomena, by using remote sensing, geographical and environmental data (WP1, 2, 3).
All the primary and secondary data needed, together with the most suitable software, have been identified, listed, and discussed between partners during the First Progress Meeting (Limassol, May 2019) and the First Annual Meeting (Athens, November 2019). Software tools useful for implementing soil erosion processing chain have been identified during secondments and finally discussed during the Annual meeting. In this regard, the activities are now related to complete the data collection and to apply and test the processing chains.
At the same time, Partners also work to design the risk assessment methodology that will be used to produce risk maps of archaeological heritage threatened by the hazard considered, and therefore to define the scientific and user requirements of the Platform. On the basis of this requirement, the architecture design of Research GIS Platform was completed in the Summer 2020.
Contacts with stakeholders, in particular authorities in charge for archaeological heritage preservation, contributes to the selection of the case studies.
Besides the activities already described, partners also met in multiple occasions during the period: for secondments, meetings, and for the Summer Schools organized by RESEARCH, as described in below.

The project has achieved most of its objectives for the period with relatively minor deviations even if travel bans disrupted almost the whole planned secondment plan for the year 2020. Disruptions started beginning of March with Italy and later on for Greece, Cyprus and Poland.

Social dissemination:
- The construction of a website for the project (
- A Facebook page (

Summer School:
1 st Summer School in Limassol, Cyprus within 21-27 May 2019 with visit to the case study of Amathous;
2nd Summer School in Rethymno, Crete within 21-26 September 2020 with visit to the site of Olous (Elounda).

a) F. Battistin, S. De Angeli, Da Clima a RESEARCH. Monitoraggio e valutazione del rischio nei siti archeologico mediante l’applicazione di tecnologie di remote sensing e GIS, in A. Russo, I. Della Giovampaola (eds.), Monitoraggio e manutenzione delle aree archeologiche. Cambiamenti climatici, dissesto idrogeologico, degrado chimico-ambientale, Roma 2019, 275-279. ISSN 2240-8347; ISBN 978-88-913-1947-0 ; ISBN 978-88-913-1950-0;

b) A. Kosta, I. Paraskevopoulos, A. Agapiou, F. Battistin, M. Serpetti, F. Waldoch, W. Rączkowski, A. Di Iorio, S. De Angeli, D. Hadjimitsis, ""Remote sensing techniques for archaeology: a state of art analysis of SAR methods for land movement,"" Proc. SPIE 11524, Eighth International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of the Environment; DOI: 10.1117/12.2571722;

c) S. De Angeli, F. Battistin, M. Serpetti, A. Di Iorio, F. Moresi, The RESEARCH project. Soil-related hazards and archaeological heritage in the challenge of climate change, IOP Conference Series Materials Science and Engineering, vol. 949, 012058 [November 2020]; DOI: 10.1088/1757-899X/949/1/012058."
After completing the data collection (Spring 2021), partners will proceed with the evaluation of hazards and with the mapping and cataloguing of archaeological features. At the same time the GIS Platform implementation will be completed and then its functioning will be tested with the products of the external processing chains. All these activities will be carried on as much as possible through secondments. Other two summer schools will be organized (one per year), conveying partners and externals at the same table in order to share knowledge and enrich their participation to the project (Viterbo, Italy, 2021; Lymassol, Cyprus, 2022). Two conferences are also scheduled for September 2021 (Intermediate conference) and October 2022 (Final conference). They will be organized by the Coordinator and will be held in Rome, in order to reach a wider public.
RESEARCH progress can be followed on the official website at or on Facebook (Research - Remote Sensing techniques for Archaeology), with updates about milestones and dissemination activities.
Project Logo
Archeological Site Amathus (CY)
First Summer School Flyer
MidTerm_2Annual Meeting,Rethymno-FORTH, September 2020
Field visit, Olous (Elounda, Crete), Second Summer School
First Annual Meeting, Athens - GSH, November 2019
Second Summer School Flyer
First Summer School Programme
Second Summer School, Rethymno-FORTH, September 2020
First Summer School, Lymassol-CUT, May 2019
Second Summer School Flyer Programme