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Endangered Archaeology: Using Remote Sensing to Protect Cultural Heritage

Durham University , University of Oxford , University of Leicester and British Council via FutureLearn


Learn about techniques to identify and monitor heritage sites

The Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project has developed a methodology for documenting heritage sites and landscapes, using remote sensing as a key technique.

On this course, you’ll learn about the basics of satellite remote sensing and how to use it to identify and monitor threats to heritage sites and landscapes.

Discover how to assess the condition of archaeological sites and damage through Google Earth

You’ll start by learning to interpret satellite imagery before going through a step-by-step guide on how to use Google Earth Pro to find, record, and monitor archaeological sites.

Once you’ve developed your skills, you’ll look at identifying and assessing damage and threats to heritage sites, such as natural erosion or construction, and then recording your findings.

Explore basic mapmaking as a tool to communicate information

To round out your remote sensing toolkit, this course will take you through the archaeology of the landscapes of mud and stone. You’ll use examples to learn what information you can obtain when looking at these landscapes.

Finally, you’ll look at communicating information through a basic map, and techniques you can use when making maps.

Learn from experts in archaeology and remote sensing at the EAMENA Project

EAMENA Project team members have been at the forefront of remote sensing for archaeology since 2015, and Durham University archaeology has been doing this for over two decades. They use satellite imagery to find new sites, monitor site destruction, and organise heritage management across several countries.

Having trained local archaeologists and heritage professionals, the team is uniquely positioned to guide you through using satellite imagery in archaeology.

This course is designed for anyone interested in archaeology and using remote sensing.

It will be particularly useful for heritage professionals working in countries in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries.


  • Using satellite imagery for archaeology: Introduction
    • Welcome to the course
    • How do we use satellite remote sensing in archaeology?
    • Any questions?
    • Moving on: Accessing free satellite imagery using Google Earth Pro
  • Seeing archaeology: Identifying sites and features
    • Image interpretation
    • But what are we actually seeing?
    • Seeing sites: examples
    • Seeing damages: examples
  • Seeing damage: Identifying disturbances and threats
    • Disturbances
    • Threat assessment
  • Case study 1: Landscapes of mud
    • Introduction to types of building material in Archaeology
    • Mudbrick landscapes in the Homs region, Syria
    • Mudbricks of Southern Iraq
  • Case study 2: Landscapes of stone
    • The basalt landscape of Syria
    • Harrat Deposits of Saudi Arabia
    • Eastern Desert of Jordan
    • Some tasks for you
  • Communicating information: Making maps
    • Making maps
    • Share your maps
    • Wrapping up

Taught by

Sean Pryor


4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 53 ratings

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