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Abstract

Archaeology of north-eastern Poland has been poorly recognized owing to vast forest areas and numerous lakes. This particularly refers to the Warmian–Masurian Voivodship, where forest covers over 30% of its area. Prospection of forested areas has become possible in Poland just over 10 years ago with the Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). These techniques allow obtaining 3-D documentation of recognized and also unknown archaeological sites in the forested areas. Thanks to ALS/LiDAR prospection a significant number of archaeological structures have been identified also in the Warmia and Masuria regions. Among them oval-shaped hillforts, surrounded by perfectly spaced concentric moats and ramparts, located mainly on islands and in wetland areas, have raised particular attention. Based on field prospection and results of preliminary excavations, these objects have been considered as Iron Age hillforts. One of the best preserved objects of this type is on the Radomno Lake island, located several kilometres to the south of Iława town. Integrated geoarchaeological prospection of this hillfort emphasized benefits of using LiDAR in combination with results of geophysical prospection and shallow drillings. Applied methodology enabled to document the hillfort shape, and to study its geological structure and stratigraphy. The results clearly indicate that integration of LiDAR data with geophysical prospecting is indispensable in future archaeological surveys. It is a perfect tool for remote sensing of archaeological objects in forest areas, so far not available for traditional archaeology.
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