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Crawled properties in SharePoint are metadata that is extracted from documents during crawls and is based on the protocol handler used.

Crawled properties in SharePoint are metadata that is extracted from documents during crawls and is based on the protocol handler used. Metadata includes information such as author, create date, subject, title, etc. Administrators can control which crawled properties are mapped to managed properties, and, in doing so, the end user search experience can be enhanced.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/anneste/archive/2008/11/20/mystery-solved-crawled-properties-in-sharepoint-part-1.aspx

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