The obstacles

The high scarp of the riverbank on which Novae is situated is cut by deep forested valleys, one of them laying immediately to the east from the site, where the small Dermendere river flows into the Danube. The locally extracted sandstone and a few types of limestone including sandy limestone and metamorphosed, hard limestone were used by the Romans for construction. Numerous fragments of building ceramics, such as roof tiles, bricks and pipes, are visible on the ground. In some cases stone, bricks and tiles is used by local farmers to mark plots of their lands. Metals, including ancient iron processing waste, nails, fragments of Roman military equipment, tools and coins are also relatively numerous finds. Continuous farming in the area, as well as old and new vineyards using wires may have caused “metal pollution” of soil. The composition of soil and rock materials may influence the images obtained from remote sensing, as well.

canabae Novae (1)

The reconstruction of the past landscape around Novae could be realised only thanks to the integrated multi-method approach using aerial photography, geophysical prospection, field walking, surface surveys using metal detectors and hand-held GPS devices, but also analyses of archaeobotanical remains. Due to the many obstacles resulting from the modern changes of the landscape surrounding Novae, in some cases we had to implement the chosen methods in certain places, and in other, only to make photograph and geodetic documentation of architectural remains.

canabae Novae wall in 2013 canabae Novae wall in 2014

The wall on the scarp in the canabae; left – before cleaning and documentation; right – the photogrammetric documentation of the wall

 

Before the start of the project, we had made some testing with gradiometer, earth resistance and and UAV’s for low-altitute aerial photography. Primary tests were promising enough, although the best results were obtained from the method of earth resistance which is time-consuming. A high-resolution (0.41m) orthorectified satellite imagery of the site and its neighbourhood taken from the WorldView-2 was the basic image used for general evaluation of the area, its availability and the preparation of the surveys’ plan. Due to the intensive vegetation and climate, the surveys could have been made only within two weeks in the second part of March. Anyway, each year we had to be prepared for cutting grass, bushes and remains of farming vegetation.

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