Low-frequency sounder radar system as a new tool for archaeological prospection and monitoring: potentialities and preliminary surveys - EARSeL Conferences
Francesco Soldovieri, lIaria Catapano, Lorenzo Crocco ; ...Facchinetti, Claudia; Longo, Francesco; Formaro, Roberto ; et al.
Jan - 2012

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Published in: 4th Workshop on Cultural and Natural Heritage
type: Conference Proceedings

In recent years, research attention has been devoted to the development of a new class of airborne radar systems using low frequency bands ranging from VHF/UHF to P and L ones. In this frame, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) has promoted the development of a new multi-mode and multi-band airborne radar system, which can be considered even a “proof-of-concept” for the next space-borne missions. In particular, in agreement with the ASI, the research consortium CO.RI.S.T.A. has in charge the design, development and flight validation of such a kind of system, which is the first airborne radar entirely built in Italy. The aim was to design and realize a radar system able to work in different modalities as: nadir-looking sounder at VHF band (163 MHz); side-looking imager (SAR) at P band with two channels at 450 MHz and 860 MHz. In this work, we discuss the potentialities of the nadir-looking radar sounder in giving a support to the archaeological prospection and monitoring, thanks to the advantages that this kind of platform gives in terms of: ensuring a global vision of the archaeological site and of the embedding territory (by allowing in principle 3D representation of the site); performing very fast surveys compared to the ones made by ground penetrating radar systems; achieving an improved flexibility in the observation modalities (possibility of a survey without interfering with the ordinary behaviour of the site. In this frame, the use of this GPR system allows to achieve information about deeper zones compared to the ones achieved by ground based system, so it can represent a key tool in an integrated approach combining the airborne observations with ground based surveys (GPR, electrical resistivity tomography, electromagnetic induction). In this work, we will present the results relative to a preliminary survey performed in the past summer (June 2012) on the archaeological area of Paestum, where the sounder system revealed useful to achieve information about the “geology” of the site besides the information about shallower layers. Finally, we show as the potentialities ensured by a specifically devoted microwave tomographic approach able to achieve images of selected surveyed areas with an enhanced spatial resolution.

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