Among the environmental threats, the intensification of natural hazards, such as soil erosion may threaten the integrity and value of cultural heritage sites. In this framework, the present study’s main objective was to identify archaeological sites susceptible by soil erosion, taking the case study of Chania prefecture in Crete Island. Remotely sensed and other available geospatial datasets were analyzed in a GIS-based empirical model, namely Unit Stream Power Erosion and Deposition (USPED), to estimate the average annual soil loss and deposition rates due to water-induced erosion in the study area. The resultant erosion map was then intersected with the locations and surrounding zones of the known archaeological sites for identifying the sites and the portions of their vicinity being at risk. The results revealed that Chania prefecture and its cultural heritage are significantly affected by both soil loss and deposition processes. Between the two processes, soil loss was found to be more intensive, influencing a larger part of the prefecture (especially to the west) as well as a higher amount of archaeological sites. The extreme and high soil loss classes were also detected to cover the most considerable portion of the sites’ surrounding area. The identification of the archaeological sites being most exposed to soil erosion hazard can constitute a basis for cultural heritage managers in order to take preventive preservation measures and develop specific risk mitigation strategies.

Assessment of water-induced soil erosion as a threat to cultural heritage sites: the case of Chania prefecture, Crete Island, Greece

Cuca B.;
2021

Abstract

Among the environmental threats, the intensification of natural hazards, such as soil erosion may threaten the integrity and value of cultural heritage sites. In this framework, the present study’s main objective was to identify archaeological sites susceptible by soil erosion, taking the case study of Chania prefecture in Crete Island. Remotely sensed and other available geospatial datasets were analyzed in a GIS-based empirical model, namely Unit Stream Power Erosion and Deposition (USPED), to estimate the average annual soil loss and deposition rates due to water-induced erosion in the study area. The resultant erosion map was then intersected with the locations and surrounding zones of the known archaeological sites for identifying the sites and the portions of their vicinity being at risk. The results revealed that Chania prefecture and its cultural heritage are significantly affected by both soil loss and deposition processes. Between the two processes, soil loss was found to be more intensive, influencing a larger part of the prefecture (especially to the west) as well as a higher amount of archaeological sites. The extreme and high soil loss classes were also detected to cover the most considerable portion of the sites’ surrounding area. The identification of the archaeological sites being most exposed to soil erosion hazard can constitute a basis for cultural heritage managers in order to take preventive preservation measures and develop specific risk mitigation strategies.
Crete
Cultural heritage
GIS
soil erosion
USPED model
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1193581
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