Reflecting on siliceous rocks in central Australia: using advanced remote sensing to map ancient “tool-stone” resources

Law, Wallace Boone, Lewis, Megan M., Ostendorf, Bertram, and Hiscock, Peter (2020) Reflecting on siliceous rocks in central Australia: using advanced remote sensing to map ancient “tool-stone” resources. Geoarchaeology, 35. pp. 400-415.

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Abstract

HyMap™ airborne hyperspectral imagery was used to discriminate and map hydrated silica mineralization in the Dalhousie Springs area of central Australia. A spectral feature fitting algorithm was used to match laboratory reference spectra with image pixel spectra, producing a scaled goodness-of-fit raster map of silicified “tool-stone” sources in our study area. Subsequent fieldwork indicated that the algorithm mapped silcrete, a rock composed of hydrated silica, and incidentally, the most frequently utilized raw material for stone artifact manufacture in this area of the Australian arid zone. The soundness of our hydrated silica mineralization map is supported with field observations and spectroscopic analysis of collected silcrete samples. Independent siliceous rock mapping produced by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organization offers additional corroboration of our results. Based on the success of our approach, we suggest that archaeologists working in Australia and in similar arid environments elsewhere have much to benefit in using advanced remote sensing products to map lithic resources, including time and cost-saving advantages for field logistics, enriched assessments of land suitability for archaeological site types, and an improved understanding of resource distributions.

Item ID: 62001
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1520-6548
Keywords: Aboriginal archaeology, Australian arid zone, hydrated silica, hyperspectral remote sensing, lithic resource mapping, silcrete, spectral feature fitting algorithm
Copyright Information: © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2020 00:30
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology @ 100%
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