The Qatar Remote Sensing Project

A project using terrestrial and maritime based geophysical data and remote-sensing surveys combined with GIS based mapping, to provide a powerful tool for investigation the historic landscapes of Qatar and the wider region.

The Qatar Remote Sensing Project assessed the viability of combining onshore high-resolution satellite images, Synthetic Aperture Radar and lidar data, with offshore 2D/3D seismic and bathymetric data – which had already been captured for oil exploration.  

Project overview

This data is now providing a unique resource for local heritage professionals and international archaeologists seeking to understand the changing nature of the environment and the settlement patterns of communities within the Arabian Peninsula during the Pleistocene and early Holocene periods

The project gathered and combined a range of geological, archaeological and remotely sensed data, as well as 2D/3D seismic and off-shore bathymetric data captured for the purposes of oil exploration. This unique resource is currently facilitating studies into the former landscape and environment of the Gulf and the impact of rising sea levels on early populations within the region.

Within the terrestrial areas of Qatar the project applied a wide variety of remotely sensed data including satellite imagery to identify archaeological sites and features. In total almost 2000 potential archaeological sites were identified varying from extensive early Islamic period settlements to previously unknown prehistoric encampments and lithic scatters.

Our teams verified the results of the remote-sensing through ground-truthing and extensive survey, conducting the first fully comprehensive archaeological survey of the whole of Qatar. In addition to validating the original data such survey was used to determine the success of the various remote sensing methods and any bias towards particular site types.

The data produced and curated by the Qatar Remote Sensing project provides a powerful resource for the study and investigation of this now-submerged landscape. This data set is revolutionising our understanding of the late Pleistocene environment and the response of regional populations.

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