Date of Award
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Recent work by Bob Melia of Real Time Thermal Imaging L.L.C. suggests thermal infrared (TIR) imaging can be used to identify subsurface archaeological features buried as deep as 3 meters but the basis for his work has not been tested. In November of 2002, Bob Melia and I attempted to locate unmarked graves at the Charity Hospital Cemetery using TIR imaging. Unfortunately, shortly after that survey, Bob Melia passed away without documenting his work or preparing the final report. Based on a review of previous research and modeling related to TIR imaging of subsurface features, I conclude that the high altitude that Bob Melia used for this type of study was key to his success. The larger field of view allowed recognition of longer spatial wavelength anomalies and more subtle temperature variations expected from features at greater depths than those in previous studies. Furthermore detecting features at these depths is aided by diurnal heating but is primarily made possible because annual seasonal temperature variations are significant 3-4 meters deep.
Heitger, Raymond, "Thermal Infrared Imaging for the Charity Hospital Cemetery Archaeological Survey: Implications for Further Geological Applications" (2006). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 318.