The Measurement by Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) of Disturbance Within the Nasca World Heritage Site

Bruce D. Chapman, Douglas C. Comer, Johny A. Isla, Helaine Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper we report on our use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) as a means of monitoring the Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana World Heritage Site in Peru, where the colossal ground drawings, popularly known as the Nasca Lines, are found. Our research to date indicates that the environment in which the Nasca geoglyphs are found, and the nature of the geoglyphs themselves, are suited perfectly for investigation by SAR. SAR also provides a new and valuable tool for understanding the human activities and natural processes that have damaged the geoglyphs and which, unchecked, will continue to do so in the future. Further, SAR can be used to categorize geoglyphs according to structural differences and similarities in ways that have heretofore not been possible, thereby serving as a basis for a geoglyph catalogue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-286
Number of pages17
JournalConservation and Management of Archaeological Sites
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2015



  • Archaeology
  • Geoglyphs
  • Heritage management
  • Monitoring
  • Nasca
  • Remote sensing
  • Synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
  • Uninhabited aerial vehicle synthetic aperture radar (UAVSAR)
  • World Heritage Sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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