Remote sensing methods and approaches for Underwater Cultural Heritage research and management


Violante Crescenzo Violante

Crescenzo Violante

Institute of Heritage Sciences - National Research Council (ISPC – CNR), Italy

Papadopulos Nikos Papadopulos

Nikos Papadopulos

Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas (FORTH), Greece


Investigation, documentation, and monitoring of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) remain challenging tasks that stimulate the research, design, and development of new sensors, devices, techniques, and methods aimed at building a continuous overview of the seabed environment and associated cultural features. Currently, a variety of sensing methods based on optics, acoustics, and electro- magnetics provide the maritime archaeological community with significant opportunities for re-defining the procedures for site mapping, evaluation and monitoring. Acoustic remote sensing technologies involves various sonar equipment for seafloor and sub-seafloor investigations, including Multibeam echosounder (MBES), Side Scan Sonar (SSS) e sub-bottom profiler (SBP), to reconstruct and map with high detail submerged and buried archaeological structures as well as underwater cultural landscape and shallow subsurface topographies. Optical sensing technologies applied to UCH include underwater RGB and hyperspectral imaging for objects inspection and reconstruction, while technologies of electro-magnetics are used for underwater metal detection and to reconstruct buried built environment in marine coastal and shallow submerged areas. Yet, multispectral satellite imagery is increasingly used to investigate and locate shallow water and coastal archaeological sites. All these methods are indeed very effective for the identification and study of cultural underwater features and for the protection and management of submerged sites.


In this session, we welcome researchers and authors to submit papers focused on remote sensing technologies and methodological approaches that are currently used for investigation, documentation, protection and monitoring of underwater cultural resources. Submissions on the following topics are invited but are not limited to:

  • Acoustic remote sensing methods for the characterization and mapping of UCH;
  • Geophysical methods for maritime and underwater CH research;
  • Coastal and offshore geophysical imaging of buried CH;
  • Marine geoarchaeological research;
  • Underwater hyperspectral imaging of UCH;
  • Satellite remote sensing for coastal and shallow water CH research;
  • Lidar technologies for coastal and nearshore CH research;
  • Underwater photogrammetry;
  • Development of sensors and ICT/IoT tools for monitoring and interpretation of UCH;
  • Spatial modeling of seabed archaeological targets/structures;
  • Automated methods for digital classification and mapping of UCH.


Crescenzo Violante is a senior technologist at the Institute of Cultural Heritage Sciences - National Research Council (ISPC - CNR), Naples, Italy. He received his PhD in Geology from the University of Bologna. His research activities focus on the application and development of acoustic remote sensing technologies and geological methods aimed at the study, reconstruction and monitoring of underwater cultural landscape and heritage. As party chief, he has leaded several oceanographic cruises and scientific missions in the Mediterranean aimed at the characterization and multiscale and multi-thematic mapping of the seabed and the sub-seabed by means of sonar systems and direct inspections. He is part of the scientific board of the Italian National PhD in Heritage Science. He has coordinated and participated at national and international projects on natural hazard assessment, marine habitat mapping and underwater Cultural Heritage. As author or co-author, he published more than 120 national and international scientific papers.

Nikos Papadopoulos holds BSc in Geology (2001) and PhD (2007) in Applied Geophysics from the University of Thessaloniki (Greece). He was a post-doctoral researcher in the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, KIGAM (2008) and Visiting Fellow Researcher in University of Arkansas, USA (2013). He joined the Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas (FORTH) in 2009 where he is currently Research Director of Applied Geophysics in Cultural Heritage and head of the Laboratory of Geophysical–Satellite Remote Sensing & Archaeoenvironment (GeoSat ReSeArch Lab). His research interests include the numerical modeling and inversion of geophysical tomographic data, the implementation of diverse geophysical methods for near surface archaeological, environmental, urban, shallow marine applications and the employment of geoinformation technologies in cultural and natural resources management. He is Associate Editor of the international journals of Archaeological Prospection and Near Surface Geophysics