Facing the Archaeological Looting in Peru by Using Very High Resolution Satellite Imagery and Local Spatial Autocorrelation Statistics

  • Rosa Lasaponara
  • Nicola Masini
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6016)


In many countries of Southern America, Asia and Middle East clandestine excavations affect more than other man-made and natural risks archaeological heritage. Direct and aerial surveillance are not always suitable for protection and monitoring sites of cultural interest. This favoured the use of Very high resolution satellite data for the detection of looting pits.

This paper is focused on results we obtained from ongoing research focused on the use of VHR satellite images and spatial autocorrelation statistics, such as Moran’s I, Geary’s C, and Getis-Ord Local Gi index, for the identification and monitoring of looting.

A time series of satellite images (QuickBird-2 and World-View-1) has been exploited to analyze and monitor archaeological looting in Cahuachi, a large Ceremonial Centre built by the Nasca Civilization in Southern Peru. The spatial autocorrelation statistics enabled us to extract spatial anomalies linked to illegal excavations and to recognize and quantitatively characterize looting patterns over the years.

The results obtained encourage the application of satellite by means of cluster analysis techniques for the monitoring of archaeological sites.


looting NASCA satellite Spatial autocorrelation statistics 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa Lasaponara
    • 1
  • Nicola Masini
    • 2
  1. 1.CNR-IMAA (Istituto di Metodologie di Analisi Ambientale)Tito Scalo (PZ)Italy
  2. 2.Archaeological and Monumental heritage instituteNational Research CouncilTito Scalo (PZ)Italy

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