In 2013, an airborne laser scan survey was conducted in the territory of the Ionian city of Kolophon near the western coast of modern Turkey as part of an archaeological survey project carried out by the Mimar Sinan University of Istanbul (Turkey) and the University of Vienna (Austria). Several light detection and ranging (LiDAR) studies have been carried out in the temperate climate zones of Europe, but only a few in Mediterranean landscapes. Our study is based on the first LiDAR survey carried out for an archaeological purpose in Turkey and one of the first in the Mediterranean that have been planned, measured and filtered especially for archaeological research questions. The interpretation of LiDAR data combined with ground-observations proved extremely useful for the detection and documentation of archaeological remains below Mediterranean evergreen vegetation and dense maquis. This article deals with the methodological aspects of interpreting LiDAR data, using the Kolophon data as a case study. We offer a discussion of the strengths and limitations of LiDAR as an archaeological remote sensing method and suggest a best practice model for interpreting LiDAR data in a Mediterranean context. o̧pyright 2017 The Authors. Archaeological Prospection published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.