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The use of remote sensing in the protection and management of archaeological sites: a case study of the Anastasian wall

The use of remote sensing in the protection and management of archaeological sites: a case study of the Anastasian wall

By Michael Andrew McAdams, Sinan Kocaman and Fatih Kara

Scientific Research and Essay, Vol. 5:1 (2010)

Abstract: Approximately 30 km from the center of Istanbul, is a Byzantine or Late Roman period wall, constructed and reconstructed from approximately 500 – 600 C.E. by a variety of Byzantine emperors. The majority of the wall was constructed apparently during the reign of Anastasias (491 – 515 C.E.), hence the name ‘Anastasian Wall’. It was approximately 50 km long stretching from the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. The present wall corridor consists of earthen mounds, stone walls, towers and ancillary buildings.

However, this unique cultural monument is being threatened by modern farming, road construction, increasing exurban and suburban development, mining and forestry. Although a significant portion is no longer visible, approximately 20 km is still evident-making it an impressive historic architectural structure. It is crucial that the wall is more extensively documented for future study and as a basis for more extensive protective actions (that is, creation of a national historic park.) Through the combined application of Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing and GPS, the authors were able to create a geographic database of the wall, identifying where there were: visible structures, structures beneath the surface or underwater; and areas which need further on-site investigation.

The study demonstrates that spatial technologies have an integral role in the documentation of archaeological sites, greatly augmenting and in some cases surpassing traditional surveying and mapping techniques used in archeology. This paper will discuss the different methods used here to determine the location of the wall and suggest a management plan for this area.

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