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Detection of Maya's archaeological sites using high resolution radar images

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The Yucatan peninsula, in the Mexican republic, harbours many archaeological sites of the Maya civilization. Many of these sites are covered by dense vegetation in areas of difficult access and high concentration of clouds all year round. Under these conditions, radar images present an option for archaeological prospecting. In this research, an area in the eastern part of the Yucatan peninsula has been selected where many Maya sites are located. For such an area, a radar image of the Radarsat system was acquired. Based on mathematical morphology, the speckle in this image was reduced using a geometric filter. Once the reduction of speckle is achieved, the detection of archaeological sites is accomplished by means of a series of grey scale morphological transformations applied to the image. The aforementioned transformations are designed to suppress the clutter of the vegetation and to enhance the archaeological sites at the same time. The existence of archaeological sites detected by our methodology is confirmed with ancillary data collected in the field and published literature.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Instituto de Geofísica—UNAM, Circuito Institutos, Cd. Universitaria, 04510 México DF, México

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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