Automatic detection of potential buried archaeological sites in Saruq Al-Hadid, United Arab Emirates

Marwa Chendeb El Rai, Mina Al-Saad, Nour Aburaed, Saeed Al Mansoori, Hussain Al-Ahmad, Stephen Marshall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

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The use of remote sensing in archaeological research allows the prospection of sub-surfaces in arid regions non- intrusively before the on-site investigation and excavation. While the actual detection method of expected buried archaeological structures is based on visual interpretation, this work provides a supporting archaeological guidance using remote sensing. The aim is to detect potential archaeological remains underneath the sand. This paper focuses on Saruq Al-Hadid surroundings, which is an archaeologist site discovered in 2002, located about 50 km south-east of Dubai, as archaeologists believe that other archaeological sites are potentially buried in the surroundings. The input data is derived from a combination of wavelength L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (ALOS PALSAR), which is able to penetrate the sand, and multispectral optical images (Landsat 7). This paper develops a new strategy to help in the detection of suspected buried structures. The data fusion of surface roughness and spectral indices enables tackling the well-known limitation of SAR images and offers a set of pixels having an archaeological signature different from the manmade structures. The potential buried sites are then classified by performing a pixel-level unsupervised classification algorithm such as K-means cluster analysis. To test the performance of the proposed method, the results are compared with those obtained by visual interpretation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings Volume 11535
Subtitle of host publicationRemote Sensing Technologies and Applications in Urban Environments V
EditorsThilo Erbertseder, Nektarios Chrysoulakis, Ying Zhang
Place of PublicationBellingham, Washington
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2020
Event SPIE Remote Sensing, 2020 -
Duration: 21 Sep 202025 Sep 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


Conference SPIE Remote Sensing, 2020


  • remote sensing
  • archaeological structures
  • Saruq Al-Hadid


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