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Title: Satellites and site destruction : an analysis of modern impacts on the archaeological resource of the ancient Near East
Author: Cunliffe, Emma Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 4116
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2013
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The increasing damage to archaeological sites is of particular issue in the Near East. Rapid modernisation has dramatically changed the landscape, threatening the archaeological resource. Ancient sites and relict landscapes are particularly well preserved here, but the rate of anthropogenic damage is shown to be increasing markedly. This primary aim of this thesis is to use sequential satellite images to examine the changes to archaeological sites in selected case study areas in Syria, and attempt a quantitative assessment. Results are then generalised to the wider Middle Eastern region. The secondary aim is to demonstrate the potential of low cost and free satellite imagery for archaeological site monitoring, as such work is essential but the cost of custom-ordered imagery is prohibitive for many organisations. The case study areas were Tell Beydar in the Upper Khabur Basin, and the region south of Carchemish by the Euphrates. 161 sites were examined, first on low-cost Corona imagery from the 1960s, showing sites at the advent of the landscape change, and then on SPOT, DigitalGlobe and Geoeye imagery from the last decade, available through Google Earth. The sites were surveyed as part of Durham University’s Fragile Crescent Project, and the survey records used to inform the analysis. Some level of assessment was possible on all sites. The concept of damage was examined and refined, and then applied to the case study sites. Multiple anthropogenic threats were examined, and all were quantitatively shown to be increasing in horizontal extent across sites and vertical depth in both case study areas, often causing extensive damage. Almost no sites were unaffected. Finally, key issues from this study are highlighted and key recommendations made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available