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Integration and Analysis of Multi-Modal Geospatial Secondary Data to Inform Management of At-Risk Archaeological Sites

Lookup NU author(s): Rebecca Guiney, Elettra Santucci, Adam Booth, Professor Anthony Birley, Professor Ian Haynes, Professor Jon MillsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Climate change poses an imminent physical risk to cultural heritage sites and their surrounding landscape through intensifying environmental processes such as damaging wetting and drying cycles that disrupt archaeological preservation conditions, and soil erosion which threatens to expose deposits and alter the archaeological context of sites. In the face of such threats, geospatial techniques such as GIS, remote sensing, and spatial modelling have proved invaluable tools for archaeological research and cultural heritage monitoring. This paper presents the application of secondary multi-source and multi-temporal geospatial data within a processing framework to provide a comprehensive assessment of geophysical risk to the Roman fort of Magna, Carvoran, UK. An investigation into the ancient hydraulic system at Magna was carried out with analysis of vegetation change over time, and spatio-temporal analysis of soil erosion risk at the site. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time of this study, these analyses were conducted using only secondary data with the aim to guide further archaeological research, and management and monitoring strategies for the stakeholders involved. Results guided inferences about the ancient hydraulic system, providing insights regarding how to better manage the site at Magna in the future. Analysis of soil erosion allowed the identification of hot spot areas, indicating a future increase in rates of erosion at Magna and suggesting a seasonal period of higher risk of degradation to the site. Results have proven that freely available multi-purpose national-scale datasets are sufficient to create meaningful insights into archaeological sites where physical access to the site is inhibited. This infers the potential to carry out preliminary risk assessment to inform future site management practices.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Guiney R, Santucci E, Valman S, Booth A, Birley A, Haynes I, Marsh S, Mills J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information

Year: 2021

Volume: 10

Issue: 9

Online publication date: 24/08/2021

Acceptance date: 05/08/2021

Date deposited: 01/09/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2220-9964

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/ijgi10090575


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