Near-surface imaging of a buried foundation in the Western Desert, Egypt, using space-borne and ground penetrating radar

Ahmed Gaber, Magaly Koch, M. Helmi Griesh, Motoyuki Sato, Farouk El-Baz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


ALOS/PALSAR L-band full polarimetric data have been used to detect and characterize a well-defined geometric target hidden under sand deposits in the Western Desert of Egypt. This buried object is rectangular in shape with very straight boundaries and encloses an area of 500 m2. Inside the rectangular area there is a perfectly circular feature of approximately 53 m2 area. High and medium resolution optical satellite images (WorldView-2, ALOS/AVNIR-2) and field investigation confirm that the topography of the study area is relatively flat and completely covered by dry sand. The electromagnetic wave scattering behavior of the detected buried object was measured by decomposing the scattering matrix of ALOS/PALSAR full polarimetric data into Entropy-Alpha (H/α) and Freeman and Durden decompositions. Furthermore, a combination of unsupervised classification algorithms and Constant False-Alarm Rate (CFAR) edge detection was performed on the polarimetric data which revealed a well-defined geometric shape with straight borders. These borders have high α angles with low entropy, which physically means double bounce scattering mechanism with low randomness and is very similar to that of an urban scatterer, indicating that the detected target might be a buried wall-like foundation of a man-made structure. Moreover, 28 ground penetrating radar (GPR) profiles were acquired using a 270 MHz shielded antenna to validate the satellite radar remote sensing results. The GPR profiles reveal very clear hyperbolic shapes at 1.5 m depth with one of them showing a large hyperbolic shape-like structure, which might indicate the presence of a buried foundation. Thus the site might have significance to archaeological studies of the Western Desert, particularly previous human occupation and the sources of water for such habitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1946-1955
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Buried object
  • Egypt
  • GPR
  • Western Desert

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


Dive into the research topics of 'Near-surface imaging of a buried foundation in the Western Desert, Egypt, using space-borne and ground penetrating radar'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this