University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Integrating remote sensing techniques: the Penedes-Garraf (North-Eastern Spain) landscape case study
Irene Cruz, Hector A. Orengo, Josep M. Palet

Last modified: 2011-12-16


This project focuses on the study of the transition between Iron Age and the Roman period from a landscape perspective, using as a case study the Garraf and the Penedes, a mountainous and a lowland inland plain respectively in northeastern Spain. Previous archaeological research has indicated the existence of different economic activities in these two areas. The Penedes has provided evidence for the existence of Roman centuriated field systems (Palet 2003) while large livestock enclosures have been documented in the Garraf region, which seems to be associated with intensive pastoral activities during the Iron Age (Cebrià et al. 2003).
This study endeavours to assess the existence of any synergies between these two activities and territories spanning the Iron Age to the Roman period, and address questions, such as whether the Iron-Age pastoral-based economy was substituted by Roman extensive agricultural practices or both activities could have been possibly integrated into a single economic approach.
To investigate these issues an assessment of all the archaeological data available in these areas was conducted. This included firstly, a detailed analysis of the archaeological evidence present by systematic data collection by querying the Catalan Archaeological Sites Record (IPAC) and by fieldwalking to allow a better understanding of the chronology, typology and distribution of these activities. Secondly, a set of remote sensing techniques were used for the acquisition of new data. Given the physical differences between Penedes and the Garraf Massif, diverse but complementary methodological approaches needed to be implemented. For the assessment of centuriation in the Penedes area a combination of multispectral remote sensing, stereophotogrammetrical-derived microrelief analysis, survey and excavation were conducted (Orengo and Palet 2011). In the case of the Garraf area, high and eroded slopes and dense shrub vegetation rendered the application of multispectral image analysis and microrelief development very difficult. Therefore, in order to conduct photo-interpretation in this area, it was necessary to employ the 1985 and 1996 vertical aerial photographs, taken after wildfires burned down the vegetation in wide areas of the massif allowing a better visibility of the area. Block aerial triangulation procedures allowed obtaining orthoimages where hidden enclosures could be located.
This poster presents the projects workflow and the first results of the application of this methodology, highlighting how the use of specific remote sensing techniques according to the physical character and history of the study area can offer more thorough insights into past human landscape uses.


Landscape- GIS- Littoral transhumance dynamics- Garraf and Penedès archaeology- Iron Age- Roman