CORDIS
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CORDIS

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Exploring complexity in the archaeological landscapes of monsoon Asia using lidar and deep learning

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 866454

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 October 2020

  • End date

    30 September 2025

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 748 285

  • EU contribution

    € 2 748 285

Hosted by:

ECOLE FRANCAISE D'EXTREME-ORIENT

France

Objective

Compelling evidence is now emerging that tropical environments were cradles of innovation and complexity from prehistory to the present. Tropical forests in particular have long been considered marginal and inhospitable, but recent work suggests that several critical milestones were achieved in these landscapes. Vast expanses were terraformed by increasingly complex societies, often in a quest to mitigate the sharp seasonality of the monsoon. Ostensibly wild and pristine rainforests are now characterised as managed 'gardens'. The giant low-density settlement complexes of 'rainforest civilisations' anticipate the sprawling megacities of our contemporary world, and offer a laboratory for understanding the profound challenges that they create.

To date, these emerging perspectives have largely been driven by advances in palaeobotany, archaeogenetics, isotopic analyses, and contemporary rainforest ecology. Remote sensing has so far played only a modest role in this broader agenda, in spite of the unique capability of lidar technology to 'strip away' vegetation and reveal archives of human activity inscribed in the Earth's surface.

This program will tackle the core problems that currently constrain the 'lidar revolution' in archaeology: We will use a new generation of lidar technologies to greatly expand coverage in Southeast Asia, home to many of the most important and understudied rainforest landscapes. We will develop open access frameworks and infrastructures for aggregating, sharing and collaborating on new and existing lidar datasets. We will build on recent advances in artificial intelligence to develop generic models for automation and analysis, in order to move beyond localised, culturally-specific lidar applications. The net result of this work will be to create consistent, comparable datasets of human impacts on the Earth's surface, with a view to understanding trajectories of innovation and complexity in the tropical world from the deep past to the present.

Host institution

ECOLE FRANCAISE D'EXTREME-ORIENT

Address

Avenue Du President Wilson 22
75116 Paris

France

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 2 748 285

Beneficiaries (1)

ECOLE FRANCAISE D'EXTREME-ORIENT

France

EU Contribution

€ 2 748 285

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 866454

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 October 2020

  • End date

    30 September 2025

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 748 285

  • EU contribution

    € 2 748 285

Hosted by:

ECOLE FRANCAISE D'EXTREME-ORIENT

France