Destructions in the ancient city of Nimrud:
On the left: Image from 08 June 2013 (GeoEye-1)
(© DigitalGlobe 2013 all rights reserved)
On the right: Image from 20 April 2015 (WorldView-2)
(© DigitalGlobe, Inc. 2015, provided by EUSI under EC/ESA/GSC-DA, all rights reserved)
Representatives of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), the Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, and Technische Universität Wien met at EOC on 14 July 2015 to learn from remote sensing experts about the potential of earth observation for monitoring world heritage sites.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites and archaeological excavations are not only endangered by deliberate and terrorist-motivated destruction, as is now occurring in the Middle East. Settlement pressures, natural hazards and environmental influences also impact the condition of historic sites and excavations. Satellites can be used to detect and analyse such threats. Unknown cultural heritage can also be discovered with the help of optical and radar sensors, and large-area, spatial contexts can be made visible.
The German Archaeological Institute (DAI) is one of the largest archaeological institutions worldwide and a participant in projects around the globe. The applications as well as the challenges to be addressed by earth observation technology and geophysical measurement methods are correspondingly wide-ranging. The visitors from Frankfurt, Berlin and Istanbul explained their methodologies and approaches to the EOC scientists, who in turn described the possibilities as well as current limitations of earth observation.
The discussions that took place during the visit were especially instructive for both sides. Current EOC projects like the activities of the Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) relating to documenting the destruction of DAI excavation sites in the Middle East, and the presentation on the current EU “ArcLand” project by Dr. Axel Posluschny of DAI, strengthened the resolve of the participants to work together more closely in the future.
The one-day workshop could not address all aspects of interest, by far. Additional meetings on the specialist level and a linking of this topic with European programmes such as Copernicus are planned.