Airborne thermal video radiometry and excavation planning at tel leviah, golan heights, israel

Eyal Ben-Dor, Juval Portugali, Moshe Kochavi, Michal Shimoni, Lipaz Vinitzky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the feasibility of using a very sensitive video thermal radiometer for deriving information about subsoil objects from the air. We mounted the thermal sensor onboard a helicopter and acquired digital data from an altitude of 4000 feet over an archaeological site on the Golan Heights, Israel. The site, Tel Leviah, is a Bronze Age settlement that is covered by a thin layer of soil. The buried structures, made from basalt, could not be observed from the ground or in aerial photos. In the thermal images, however, buried basalt structures were significantly enhanced because they have different thermal characteristics than the ground's surface. Based on these images, it was possible to generate a map for future excavations. Verification on the ground revealed positive agreement between the thermal images and the buried structures in selected areas. The research highlights the fact that this technology can contribute additional and useful information to the field of archaeology. Based on these preliminary results, further study is planned in order to examine the capability of the sensor in different conditions and to further excavate Tel Leviah.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


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