UNH Researchers to Use Satellite Imagery in Study of Michigan Archaeological Sites

UNH Researchers to Use Satellite Imagery in Study of Michigan Archaeological Sites

Oct 03, 2012

Researchers from UNH have received a grant from NASA’s Space Archaeology program to investigate the transition of indigenous hunter-gatherer cultures to agricultural-based communities in the U.S. Great Lakes region prior to European contact between AD 1200-1600.

The focus of the study will be to determine if “micrometeorological lake effects” around major inland lakes contributed to settlement and development of prehistoric agriculture by creating favorable conditions for an extended growing season.

The researchers will use ten years of satellite “remotely sensed” imagery from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) which provides a time series of daily images of the Earth, including a region in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula containing earthen mounds built by indigenous cultures, which are a key feature for the archaeological aspect of the study.

The MODIS imagery will document the decade-long freeze/thaw cycle of the lakes, which will thus reveal the microclimate conditions of individual lakes.

The three-year, $365,698 project will be conducted by a multidisciplinary team:

  • principal investigator Michael Palace of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) Earth Systems Research Center (ESRC)
  • co-investigator Meghan Howey of the department of anthropology
  • post-doctoral researcher Crystal McMichael of ESRC
  • former ESRC scientists Rob Braswell and Steve Hagen of the independent consulting firm Applied GeoSolutions

Full article                                         MODIS Web site

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