Satellite remote sensing analysis of the Qasrawet archaeological site in North Sinai

Christopher Stewart, Eliezer D. Oren, Eli Cohen-Sasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


North Sinai is of significant historical interest primarily because of its role since late prehistoric times as a land bridge between Egypt and the Levant. Access to this region is challenging due to its harsh geography and security concerns. Remote sensing constitutes a convenient method for archaeological prospection and monitoring over such regions with its low cost (relative to ground based sensing techniques), global coverage, and high temporal and spatial sampling. This paper describes part of a study to revisit a number of sites investigated during the North Sinai Survey (1972-1982) with very high resolution optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite imagery. These were acquired throughout the summer of 2017 in the framework of a European Space Agency research project. The Synthetic Aperture Radar data includes Spotlight and Staring Spotlight modes of the TerraSAR-X mission, while the optical imagery was acquired by the Pleiades mission. The TerraSAR-X data were processed to derive filtered amplitude and consecutive coherence time series. The results of the TerraSAR-X data processing, and the pan-sharpened Pleiades data were compared with the results of the North Sinai Survey to detect possible additional buried structures in the radar data, or newly excavated sites in the optical data. While the analysis is still ongoing, results are reported here of the Qasrawet archaeological site, which was partially investigated by the North Sinai Survey expedition, but assumed to cover a much larger area. Herein, a number of newly excavated structures are apparent in the remote sensing data. The similarity of features in both the TerraSAR-X and Pleiades data suggest that all structures are surface residues, and therefore, that the subsurface mapping capabilities of the TerraSAR-X data in this area are limited. The utility of both data types for archaeological site monitoring are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1090
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Archaeology
  • Desert
  • Multispectral
  • North Sinai
  • North Sinai Survey
  • Pleiades
  • Prospection
  • Qasrawet
  • SAR
  • TerraSAR-X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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