During this two-year project, I developed and refined a method of remote archaeological survey, recording features visible on the surface of the desert around the ancient Egyptian Hatnub quarries using high-resolution satellite imagery in a geographic information system (GIS). I ground-checked the results of this survey using mobile GIS, updating the database on-site on a tablet. Subsequent analysis revealed that this type of ‘remote survey’ is 69% accurate overall, with much higher accuracy in undisturbed areas. The experience gained will ensure future surveys are even more accurate.
This project formed part of the Hatnub Epigraphic Project, a joint project of Roland Enmarch of the University of Liverpool and Dr. Yannis Gourdon of Institut Français d’Archéologie orientale – Le Caire (IFAO)/Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée.
GIS, satellite remote-sensing, and archaeological survey
I contributed to the funding proposal and led the satellite remote-sensing, GIS, and archaeological survey components. I prepared the request for satellite tasking and the order for the resultant high-resolution satellite imagery and digital surface model of the Hatnub landscape. In 2016, I used the high-resolution satellite imagery to remotely survey the archaeological features across the desert around Hatnub’s Quarry P. The results were ground-checked using mobile GIS during the 2017 field season and subsequently published in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology in 2021.
University of Liverpool.
Archaeological surveyor, satellite remote-sensing and GIS specialist
Egypt Exploration Society Fieldwork grant 2016-2017.
- GIS database of over 1000 archaeological features within the Hatnub industrial landscape.
- Three inscriptions were recorded using reflectance transformation imaging.
- Two conference presentations:
- ‘Mobile GIS ground-truthing of the satellite remote survey at the Hatnub quarries, Egypt.’ The Archaeologies of Roads, University of Florence, Italy, 7-8 November 2019.
- ‘Accessing the inaccessible: Detailed ‘off-site’ archaeological survey using satellite imagery and GIS at the Hatnub travertine quarries, Egypt’, Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference (CAA 2017), Atlanta, USA 14-16 March.
- Two peer-reviewed publications:
- Pethen, H. 2020. Accessing the inaccessible: Detailed ‘off-site’ archaeological survey using satellite imagery and GIS at the Hatnub travertine quarries, Egypt. In Jeffrey B. Glover, Jessica Moss, and Dominique Rissolo (eds.) CAA 2017. Digital Archaeologies, Material Worlds (Past and Present). Proceedings of the 45th Annual Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Tübingen: Tübingen University Press. 115–32.
- Pethen, H. 2021. The Hatnub Quarries Industrial Landscape Survey 2017: Mobile-GIS Ground-truthing of the Satellite Remote-survey. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. 107: 129-157.
I am grateful to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities for permitting and facilitating the work at Hatnub. I particularly wish to thank Mr. Mohammed Khallaf, director of the Middle Egypt at the office for antiquities in Miniah, represented by Mahmoud Salah, director of Miniah at the office for antiquities in Miniah, Mr. Hamada M. Abdel Moeen Kellawy, and Mr. Mohammed Khalil, our MSA inspector for his support and his work during the fieldwork at Hatnub. The author is also grateful to Yannis Gourdon and the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, our collaborators on the Hatnub Project
Maps and images were created using ArcGIS® software by Esri. ArcGIS® and ArcMap™ are the intellectual property of Esri and are used herein under license. Copyright © Esri. All rights reserved. For more information about Esri® software, please visit http://www.esri.com.
The Worldview-3 satellite imagery is a 4-band, pan-sharpened 0.4 m resolution satellite image created from blue, green, red, and near infra-red1 multi-spectral bands pan-sharpened with the panchromatic band of the DigitalGlobe Worldview-3 satellite recorded on 9 June 2016.
The 2017 fieldwork was funded by the Egypt Exploration Society. Additional funding for the IFAO and University of Liverpool fieldwork at Hatnub Project came from IFAO, the British Academy, Fondation Kheops, Gedeon, and the BBC.
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