Satellite imagery is an increasingly important tool for cultural and natural heritage management. It has particular relevance in those areas of the world where the heritage resource is poorly understood. In these areas what is known may be significantly biased: i.e. heritage management strategies may have been skewed towards a specific type of remain (normally monumental architecture). This paper will present work undertaken in the landscape around the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sanchi, a major early-historic Buddhist site in Madhya Pradesh, India. Rather than discuss the merits of individual sensors this paper takes a more holistic approach and examines the 'life-cycle' of satellite imagery for an archaeological project. This means that satellite imagery is viewed not just as a source of archaeological information but also as a data source that can be used to contextualise and interpret the archaeological resource. Hence this paper provides a framework which should allow archaeological investigators to select, manipulate and integrate different satellite sensors to provide information which is fit for purpose. This paper discusses the implications of satellite sensors for different activities, including archaeological prospection, landuse mapping and terrain modeling and considers how the synergies of different satellite and archaeological data can be exploited.© (2007) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.