Archaeological applications routinely use many different forms of remote sensing imagery, the exception being hyperspectral imagery (HSI). HSI tends to be utilized in a similar fashion as multispectral imagery (MSI) or processed to the point that it can be utilized similarly to MSI, thus reducing the benefits of HSI. However, for large scale archaeological surveys, HSI data can be used to differentiate materials more accurately than MSI because of HSI's larger number of spectral bands. HSI also has the ability to identify multiple materials found within a single pixel (sub-pixel material mixing), which is traditionally not possible with MSI. The Zapotec people of Oaxaca, Mexico, lived in an environment that isolates the individual settlements by rugged mountain ranges and dramatically different ecosystems. The rugged mountains of Oaxaca make large scale ground based archaeological surveys expensive in terms of both time and money. The diverse ecosystems of Oaxaca make multispectral satellite imagery inadequate for local material identification. For these reasons hyperspectral imagery was collected over Oaxaca, Mexico. Using HSI, investigations were conducted into how the Zapotec statehood was impacted by the environment, and conversely, how the environment impacted the statehood. Emphasis in this research is placed on identifying the number of pure materials present in the imagery, what these materials are, and identifying archaeological regions of interest using image processing techniques. The HSI processing techniques applied include a new spatially adaptive spectral unmixing approach (LoGlo) to identify pure materials across broad regions of Oaxaca, vegetation indices analysis, and spectral change detection algorithms. Verification of identified archaeological sites is completed using Geospatial Information System (GIS) tools, ground truth data, and high-resolution satellite MSI. GIS tools are also used to analyze spatial trends in lost archaeological sites due to urban sprawl occurring in the Central Oaxacan Valleys over the past 30 years.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Archaeology--Remote sensing; Zapotec Indians--Research; Multispectral photography--Data processing; Oaxaca (Mexico : State)--Environmental conditions--Research
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
Canham, Kelly, "Large scale archaeological satellite classification and data mining tools" (2012). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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