An integrated remote-sensing and GIS approach for mapping past tin mining landscapes in Northwest Iberia

João Fonte, Emmanuelle Meunier, José Alberto Gonçalves, Filipa Dias, Alexandre Lima, Luís Gonçalves-Seco, Elin Figueiredo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
118 Downloads (Pure)


Northwest Iberia can be considered as one of the main areas where tin was exploited in antiquity. However, the location of ancient tin mining and metallurgy, their date and the intensity of tin production are still largely uncertain. The scale of mining activity and its socio-economical context have not been truly assessed, nor its evolution over time. With the present study, we intend to present an integrated, multiscale, multisensor and interdisciplinary methodology to tackle this problem. The integration of airborne LiDAR and historic aerial imagery has enabled us to identify and map ancient tin mining remains on the Tinto valley (Viana do Castelo, northern Portugal). The combination with historic mining documentation and literature review allowed us to confirm the impact of modern mining and define the best-preserved ancient mining areas for further archaeological research. After data processing and mapping, subsequent ground-truthing involved field survey and geological sampling that confirmed cassiterite exploitation as the key feature of the mining works. This non-invasive approach is of importance for informing future research and management of these landscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3434
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • Aerial imagery
  • Airborne LiDAR
  • Archival documentation
  • Mining Archaeology
  • Northwest iberia
  • Tin


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