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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Archaeological Survey: Results from Portugal and Mozambique

Author(s): Brandon Zinsious ; Jonathan Haws

Year: 2015

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Any technological advance that can save archaeologists time, money and manpower should be explored thoroughly. This poster presents the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or Drones, as a supplemental tool to traditional archaeological survey. Examples from Portugal and Mozambique are included to give visual representations of the possible uses of drone technologies. We used a commercially-available Phantom 2 quadcopter with a GoPro camera for coastal survey in Praia Ray Cortico, Portugal. Specifically, we used the drone-mounted camera to visually inspect largely inaccessible cliff deposits in order to evaluate their archaeological potential. In Mozambique, we used the drone to conduct aerial survey in advance of pedestrian survey teams in the roadless landscape of Ncuala Valley, in northern Mozambique. The drone enabled the inspection of potential areas for rock shelters and other open-air site locations. The drone-mounted camera was instrumental in being able to target specific areas and eliminate others from further consideration thus saving valuable time. This poster also includes discussions on methodologies of specific uses of the drone and attached camera. Potential future uses include LiDAR and GPS mapping to create small-scale DEMs.

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Archaeological Survey: Results from Portugal and Mozambique. Brandon Zinsious, Jonathan Haws. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398204)


Mozambique Portugal UAV

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min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America