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Towards the use of artificial intelligence deep learning networks for detection of archaeological sites

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title> jats:pWhile remote sensing data have long been widely used in archaeological prospection over large areas, the task of examining such data is time consuming and requires experienced and specialist analysts. However, recent technological advances in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), and in particular deep learning methods, open possibilities for the automated analysis of large areas of remote sensing data. This paper examines the applicability and potential of supervised deep learning methods for the detection and mapping of different kinds of archaeological sites comprising features such as walls and linear or curvilinear structures of different dimensions, spectral and geometrical properties. Our work deliberately uses open-source imagery to demonstrate the accessibility of these tools. One of the main challenges facing AI approaches has been that they require large amounts of labeled data to achieve high levels of accuracy so that the training stage requires significant computational resources. Our results show, however, that even with relatively limited amounts of data, simple eight-layer, fully convolutional network can be trained efficiently using minimal computational resources, to identify and classify archaeological sites and successfully distinguish them from features with similar characteristics. By increasing the number of training sets and switching to the use of high-performance computing the accuracy of the identified areas increases. We conclude by discussing the future directions and potential of such methods in archaeological research.</jats:p>


Funder: Daphne Jackson Trust; doi:

Funder: National Environment Research Council


4013 Geomatic Engineering, 40 Engineering, 34 Chemical Sciences, 3406 Physical Chemistry, Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD)

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Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties

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IOP Publishing