Logo Leibniz IPHT

3D-Modelling of Charlemagne’s Summit Canal (Southern Germany)—Merging Remote Sensing and Geoarchaeological Subsurface Data

Schmidt, Johannes; Rabiger-Völlmer, Johannes; Werther, Lukas; Werban, Ulrike; Dietrich, Peter; Berg, Stefanie; Ettel, Peter; Linzen, Sven Peter; Stele, Andreas; Schneider, Birgit; Zielhofer, Christoph
in: Remote Sensing (2019) 1111-1

The Early Medieval Fossa Carolina is the first hydro-engineering construction that bridges the Central EuropeanWatershed. The canal was built in 792/793 AD on order of Charlemagne and should connect the drainage systems of the Rhine-Main catchment and the Danube catchment. In this study, we show for the first time, the integration of Airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and geoarchaeological subsurface datasets with the aim to create a 3D-model of Charlemagne’s summit canal. We used a purged Digital Terrain Model that reflects the pre-modern topography. The geometries of buried canal cross-sections are derived from three archaeological excavations and four high-resolution direct push sensing transects. By means of extensive core data, we interpolate the trench bottom and adjacent edges along the entire canal course. As a result, we are able to create a 3D-model that reflects the maximum construction depth of the Carolingian canal and calculate an excavation volume of approx. 297,000 m3. Additionally, we compute the volume of the present dam remnants by Airborne LiDAR data. Surprisingly, the volume of the dam remnants reveals only 120,000 m3 and is much smaller than the computed Carolingian excavation volume. The di_erence reflects the erosion and anthropogenic overprint since the 8th century AD.

Logo Leibniz-Gemeinschaft