Lunch Meeting: Quantifying Looting – Hybrid Research Using Google Earth and ArcGIS
Thursday Nov 6, 2008 12-1pm
Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room
Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP (cengel at stanford)
Dan Contreras, Lecturer at the Dept. of Anthropology:
“Quantifying Looting – Hybrid Research Using Google Earth and ArcGIS”
International response to the problem of looting of archaeological sites has been hampered by the difficulty of reliably quantifying the damage done. The scarcity of reliable information about the scale of archaeological site looting hampers professional and public policy making, making consensus about the scale of damage from looting and the effectiveness of policy responses difficult to achieve. Dan Contreras and Neil Brodie have been exploring the use of publicly-available remotely-sensed imagery for quantifying damage done by looting of archaeological sites in Jordan, resulting in a GIS database of looted sites. The ease of use and affordability of such imagery as that provided by Google Earth make the identification, quantification, and monitoring of archaeological site looting possible at a level previously unimagined; however, Google Earth is most effective as a research tool if combined with true GIS software. This talk will focus on the process of using Google Earth and ArcGIS in tandem, highlighting our eventual successes as well as salient difficulties.
Daniel Contreras is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and the Archaeology Center at Stanford. He received his PhD in 2007, with a dissertation entitled Sociopolitical and Geomorphologic Dynamics at Chavín de Huántar, Peru. He continues to carry out research on landscape change and human-environment interactions at Chavín, is also involved in research into the consumption and procurement of obsidian at that site and its primary obsidian source some 600 km away, and maintains a strong interest in the use of digital tools in archaeological research. In addition, he is investigating the use of publicly-available satellite imagery to monitor and quantify looting damage at archaeological sites.