RIHN Information Resources Seminar
“Lidar and archaeology”

Date & Hours: Tuesday, February 26, 2019, 13:30 - 15:00
Venue: Seminar room 1 & 2, RIHN ( →Access)
Organizer: RIHN Center, RIHN
Speaker: Stephen Leisz
Associate Professor of Geography, Department of Anthropology, Colorado State University
Title: Lidar and archaeology: examples of the application of lidar to the archaeological investigations of the city of Angamuco in the Patzcuaro Basin of Mexico

Since the early 2000s lidar has been used in various field settings in support of archaeology. In 2010, after two fieldwork seasons were devoted to mapping the remains of structures of a previously unknown settlement on a malpais, or volcanic outflow, in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin of Mexico, 9 km2 of lidar data were obtained for the site. During the next two field seasons lidar derived products were integrated into the fieldwork and mapping efforts at this site, which has been named Angamuco. This presentation describes the process that led to the use of lidar within the project in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Michoacán, Mexico. It details the creation of the lidar-derived products used in the mapping effort, the results of the lidar supported ground survey and mapping and a comparison to previous full-coverage surveys, which used sub-meter GPS surveying methodologies to map structures within the newly identified pre-contact urban area. After this introduction, the presentation details how the lidar products are being analyzed and used to automate the extraction of information by using object based image analysis (OBIA) and spatial analytical tools. Examples of information products that have been created using the lidar data and OBIA include maps of pre-historical building locations (over 10,000 structures have been identified), pre-historical water holding features on the malpais, paths and roads, and terraces. These analytical products are enabling us to move beyond the mapping of these features to carry out spatial analysis investigating the development of prehistorical urban forms and estimating prehistorical population distributions.

Stephen Leisz is an Associate Professor of Geography within the Department of Anthropology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. His research focuses on land-use/land-cover change and the drivers of these changes in Southeast Asia. He also is interested in, and has been involved in, exploring the use of remote sensing in archaeology. Over the past decade he has been involved in applying remote sensing, including lidar, to explore archaeological sites in Vietnam, Mexico, and Honduras.

Contact: KONDO Yasuhisa E-mail