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Research article2020Peer reviewed

Detecting Cultural Remains in Boreal Forests in Sweden Using Airborne Laser Scanning Data of Different Resolutions

Norstedt, Gudrun; Axelsson, Anna-Lena; Laudon, Hjalmar; Ostlund, Lars


Airborne laser scanning (ALS) is increasingly being used to detect cultural remains in forest landscapes. Boreal forests are challenging, however, since most ancient land use was carried out without major permanent ground disturbances. If this challenge can be met, there is a large potential for surveys through existing nation-wide laser-scanning programs, although their resolutions tend to be low. In this study, we compare the performance of low-resolution (LR) and high-resolution (HR) ALS data in the Krycklan catchment in northern Sweden, an area where ancient land use was small-scale and diverse. About three times as many cultural remains were detected in the HR data set, but the LR set was satisfactory for distinct structures. We analyze how LR data sets can be enhanced at ground-point classification and terrain-model generation and conclude that ALS data have a large potential for the detection and protection of cultural remains in the boreal forest.


ALS; LiDAR; cultural remains; archaeological survey; ancient land use; forest history; Sami

Published in

Journal of Field Archaeology
2020, Volume: 45, number: 1, pages: 16-28 Publisher: ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD