LiDAR map of archaeological traces in the vicinity of the village Kosovelje - Slovenia

The landscape in which we live today is largely the result of the life and work of people in the past - our ancestors. From locations of villages and towns, land and fields distribution, to lay of the roads. Except those neighbors' houses built in recent years almost everything around us is more than 100 years old.

The landscape is a mosaic composed of different age and functional particles that overlap, mix, complement and delete each other.

Identifying and understanding the patterns of organization of the
landscape in the past is one of the main areas of research in archeology. Through this we get an insight into the economic, social and ritual organization of community’s in the past.

When we explore the cultural landscape of different archaeological periods, known archeological sites are foundation on which we build. But we need to understand archaeological sites not as definite closed unit, but integrate them into the wider landscape. So that understanding of them doesn’t end at the edge of the parcel or defensive wall around the hillfort.

Since many of Slovenia's territory
is covered with forest and low value farm land is still in process of overgrowing, archaeological research of such areas was almost exclusively relied on landscape walkover surveys. Research and observation from the air (aircraft, satellite) in Slovenia is also possible only in Prekmurje and larger valleys along the rivers (Drava, Sava).

The L
iDAR method - laser scanning of Earth's surface and the data that we have is a excellent solution for Slovenia as it offers a great view of the Earths surface beneath the forest canopy. With this method we can recognize various positive archaeological traces on the surface (walls, embankments, terraces) and negative (pits, trenches). But we must remember that we do not with LiDAR get complete archaeological picture of the landscape, because a much larger proportion of archaeological sites is hidden underground without any trace on the surface.

Remains of a prehistoric wall around hillfort Gradina near village Kosovelje - Slovenia.

As an archaeologist
I spend a lot of my free time researching the landscape and one of basic tools that I use is LiDAR data. I would like to show the complexity of the landscape, both time component, as a functional and ritual components on the example of village Kosovelje and its surroundings. There we have preserved archaeological traces from prehistory to the present, and all very interesting.
Kosovelje is a small village near Dutovlje in the Municipality of Sežana.

On the map which is available on the link below you can observe transcriptions and interpretations of surface traces of which I have recognized from various LiDAR visualization. I will add each week something new.

LiDAR map of village Kosovelje and its surroundings

06/03/2016 - On the map I have included two layers, which I often use in dealing with archaeological analysis of LiDAR data (Hillshading from multiple directions and Openness - Positive). For first week I have transcripted remains of the walls of hillfort Gradina and mounds made of stone rubble inside the hillfort. Even here, the question arises whether hillfort and mounds are time related or not.

08/06/2016 - Added Orthophoto layer of Village Kosovelje.I mapped with polygon area of village Kosovelje. New archaeological feature on map is long dry stone wall that marks boundary's between villages, but only in some parts - are these older boundary's?

16/06/2016 -  Removed layer of orthophoto, there were some technical problems with it.I drew the line of the waterline, which is visible on the surface. I mapped also rectangular enclosure. I believe its date based on a rounded shape of a wall ruins is older than the Middle Ages.

29/06/2016 - Added few other rounded shape wall ruins. They form interesting enclosures. Date is most probably older than Middle ages. Lines in brown color are drywalls - boundaries of fields, which origin is in a Middle age village land distribution.  

20/07/2016 - First are transcription stone mounds in the northern part of the map (blue green). I also added transcriptions of potential archaeological traces, that are drawn around these mounds.. These traces may well be the natural surface. But often in the Karst traces of such forms are potential remains of very old dry stone walls. 

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