CHALLENGING THE INVISIBILITY OF MOBILE CULTURES REMOTE SENSING, ENVIRONMENT AND ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE NEAR EAST
Remote sensing has provided a modern wider perspective to approach the earth with its various environments and impact of humans by prospecting previously unknown frontiers of human life. The traces of mobile groups are archaeologically often more difficult to detect than those of the sedentary ones, but new approaches and methods have changed and enhanced the ways to extract archaeological information of hunter-gatherers and pastoral nomads. Remote sensing, for example, provides alternative views from above and better visibility in a larger scale, especially with high resolution solutions, than on the ground to trace sites. Mobile people have become more visible in archaeology, and therefore their importance in the development of human cultures has received more focus and understanding. This paper will focus on the use of remote sensing in the archaeological study of mobile cultures and their environments in the Near East. Various examples of techniques and site types will be discussed, and the suitability of applications will be considered based on the studies by Finnish and Finnish-Swedish projects in the Near East. We will provide examples of applications and emphasize the importance of empirical approaches in studying archaeological evidence by remote sensing. GPS coordinate points have served as the basis of our field survey and mapping. From the image-based data we shall deal with aerial photographs, CORONA satellite photographs, Landsat, SPOT, QuickBird and GeoEye satellite images. From the range-based data we shall discuss X-SAR Shuttle Mission 2000 and ASTER-DEM data, but LiDAR and geophysical devices will only be briefly considered.