Andrew Ford (LES) and Karina Gerdau-Radonic (AAFS) have been awarded a grant by the Japanese space agency (JAXA) to evaluate L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data for archaeological prospection in the arid region surrounding the Pachacámac Archaeological Complex near Lima, Peru, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The region has had human occupation for over 10 000 years and the area and archaeological sites are currently under threat of urban expansion. Identification of important sites through cross referencing of remote sensing and field surveys will be used as a negotiating tool with local governments so they engage with urban planning, and for archaeological work to be carried out before the sites disappear under the urban sprawl. The team will use the data collected by the Phased Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR-2) aboard the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2). PALSAR-2 uses a wavelength capable of penetrating dry sand, whilst also being the only such sensor capable of fine-resolution imaging, using a "Spotlight mode", thus providing a unique capability for archaeologists. Besides simple imaging, interferometry (InSAR) in Spotlight mode will also be evaluated to estimate the depths of any sub-surface features. Results from PALSAR-2 will be compared to existing mapping and forthcoming excavations in the field.

We would like to recuit an MRes student to work with this project. Contact both Andy and Karina if you are interested.