Wildfire and weather extremes threaten archaeological sites

Dec 03, 2013

Fire and extreme weather remain one of the major threats to archaeological sites. But a European collaboration has developed a warning system to protect our cultural heritage. In fact, last year it helped to save the ancient city of Rhodiapolis, in the Antalya region of Turkey, which escaped a wild fire.

FIRESENSE is an automatic early warning system and takes advantage of recent advances in multi-sensor surveillance technologies. It uses a capable of monitoring different conditions, such as temperature, as well as optical and , and local weather stations. The systems' network of cameras coupled to a smoke detection function raised the alarm to a potential disaster approaching Rhodiapolis.

Now it is being tested in other countries, according to Nikos Grammalidis, scientific director of the FIRESENSE project, based at The Centre for Research & Technology, Hellas in Thessaloniki. The system has already been tested in the of Kabeirion in Thebes, Greece and is currently being installed in the Temple of Water, in Zaghouan, Tunisia.

'Further tests are taking place in Galceti Park, in Italy and in Dodge Hall, located in Bogazici University, Istanbul,' he adds.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of a European consortium of 10 companies and research institutes from Greece, Turkey, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium and Tunisia, and with funding of nearly EUR 3 million from the European Commission.

The system works with sensors transmitting data to a monitoring centre which employs intelligent computer vision and pattern-recognition algorithms. This system uses data-fusion techniques to automatically analyse sensor information. It works by generating an automatic warning signal for local authorities whenever a dangerous situation arises, such as fire, storm or other environmental threats.

However, detecting wildfire is only the first step in fire fighting. The next step is to estimate the direction and speed of the fire in order to assess the risk to any sites potentially in its path. Panayiotis Vlamos, associate professor of informatics at Ionio University, Greece says FIRESENSE uses a Geographic Information System and 3D representations to approximate the evolution of fire and other phenomena. 'A concrete model, will enhance the efficiency of the system,' he concludes.

Explore further: Unique entry complex discovered at Herodian Hilltop Palace

More information: The Centre for Research & Technology, Hellas: www.certh.gr/root.en.aspx

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA image: Rim Fire in California

Aug 26, 2013

The Rim Fire began in California on August 17, 2013. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. This fire is treacherous and has tripled in size in the last few days to now over 106,000 acres. The ...

Recommended for you

Ancient clay seals may shed light on biblical era

Dec 20, 2014

Impressions from ancient clay seals found at a small site in Israel east of Gaza are signs of government in an area thought to be entirely rural during the 10th century B.C., says Mississippi State University archaeologist ...

Digging up the 'Spanish Vikings'

Dec 19, 2014

The fearsome reputation of the Vikings has made them the subject of countless exhibitions, books and films - however, surprisingly little is known about their more southerly exploits in Spain.

Short-necked Triassic marine reptile discovered in China

Dec 17, 2014

A new species of short-necked marine reptile from the Triassic period has been discovered in China, according to a study published December 17, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xiao-hong Chen f ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.