LiDAR results can help in finding the early acropolis of Heraclea Sintica

Archaeologia Bulgarica found out about two interesting anomalies that were discovered using LiDAR scanning of the Kozhuh hill in the Rupite area. One of them may be a fortress of about 0.7 hectares. “It looks like naturally protected place with additional artificial enclosure. It is possible that the early acropolis of Heraclea Sintica is situated there. It should be erected at the foundation of the city in the second half of the 4th century BC. “With Dr. Nadezhda Kecheva from the Department of Interdisciplinary Research and Archaeological Map of Bulgaria of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, we interpret the second anomaly with more reserves, but we hope that this is the theater of the city. We will try to survey both anomalies this fall – through archaeological GIS field survey and excavations”, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lyudmil Vagalinski commented who is the head of the site in Rupite, Petrich Municipality.

Nadezhda Kecheva recently defended her doctoral dissertation for non-destructive fieldwork activities and remote sensing methods used in archeology, so we asked her to explain what LiDAR is. “Briefly, the airborne laser scanning (LiDAR) uses wavelengths mainly in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, collecting 3D data on the state of the Earth’s surface. It is extremely useful for areas that are difficult to observe (mainly wooded areas, such as the Kozhuh hill)”, Dr. Kecheva explained.

LiDAR scanning is done in 14 zones with registered archaeological sites on the territory of Bulgaria. After the airborne laser scanning digital models of the terrain (DTM – Digital Terrain Model) and of the surface (DSM – Digital Surface Model) are produced, together with orthophotographs. The project aims at developing Archaeological map of Bulgaria. This is the national register of the archaeological heritage in Bulgaria, and it has been awarded with a grant by the Council of Ministers.

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