Ground Based Lidar of Ancient Andean Agricultural Systems

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Donna Nash, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: The geomorphology of arid southern Peru has been sculpted by an impressive anthropogenic landscape: kilometers of desert transformed into agricultural terraces abandoned for the past 500 and 1000 years; these include the Inka (1450-1532 CE) agricultural systems at Camata and the Wari (600-1000 CE) agricultural systems at cerros Mejia and Baúl. Initial survey of these Andean agricultural landscapes indicates that processes of water erosion and degradation of constructed features have started, compromising the preservation of this important archaeological legacy. In this paper, we evaluate the use of ground based lidar for subcentimeter resolution surface mapping of terraced Andean agricultural systems, as well as its suitability for fine-scale surface mapping for reconstruction of micro-elevation models of past anthropogenic landscapes and for the understanding of erosion processes in arid lands. A major source of soil loss in dryland areas is the abandonment of agricultural fields. The lack of maintenance of the infrastructure of these once productive agricultural systems accelerates the loss of productive soil, and causes land desertification. Erosion patterns can be used for estimation of erosion rates on disturbed areas under development or intense agricultural use in dryland environments. These rates give a sense of the magnitude of degradation of poorly maintained earthworks in dryland regions. The documentation and quantification of the pattern and rate at which these constructed landforms degrade is of paramount importance for finding a balance between preservation of the delicate arid landscapes and the sustainable development of these impoverished regions.

Additional Information

Proceedings of the 2013 Digital Heritage International Congress, Volume 2 edited by Alonzo Addison, Livio De Luca, Gabriele Guidi, & Sofia Pescarin, pp. 507-510. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, New York.
Language: English
Date: 2013
archaeological prospection, archaeological mapping, laser scanning, Andean Prehistory

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