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Spatial Analysis and Heritage Conservation: Leveraging 3-D Data and GIS for Monitoring Earthen Architecture

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This paper discusses new advances in heritage site monitoring using a geo-spatial method for assessing the state of preservation of earthen architecture overtime as a preventive conservation measure. The proposed method leverages a comprehensive (quantitative-qualitative) approach that gathers multi-temporal data including environmental information collected by means of environmental loggers, qualitative vulnerability assessment of mud-brick walls, and surface change detection information obtained by comparing terrestrial laser scanning point cloud capturing the decay of building’s wall features over time. Producing a detailed spatial understanding of the conservation issues that affect mud-brick walls in large earthen sites, this method can be used by conservators to rapidly identify which buildings require immediate intervention and lay the basis for future evaluation of the conservation actions undertaken. To test the effectiveness of the proposed geospatial model in producing a comprehensive view of the environmental risk and pattern of decay that affect mudbrick structures, this paper presents analyses and results obtained in a six-year study at Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Our results corroborate the effectiveness of the proposed method and prove that it can be successfully employed to create preventive conservation measures at other earthen sites inside and outside the Near East.

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