UAVs for archaeology: the sky is the limit


The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) has seen a tremendous development over the last decade. The department of Geography of Ghent University has deployed these platforms to perform high-level research on the modelling of cultural heritage. The selection of a suitable system was mainly based on compactness and flexibility in terms of transportation and deployment, as well as cost-efficiency.

The platform was deployed in various international field campaigns. The first campaign’s objective was the creation of highly accurate and realistic 3D models of the archaeological site of Edzna (Mexico). This allowed the researchers to develop a systematic acquisition methodology, which was enhanced during a field campaign in Thorikos (Greece). With the deployment of the UAV, high resolution ortho-images and elevation models were generated within a limited time frame, covering a reasonable area of the site with a resolution of a few centimetres. Afterwards, the platform was equipped with an auto-pilot system, allowing the autonomous traversing of a series of waypoints. This system was successfully deployed at the archaeological site of Turpan (China). The latest field campaign was conducted at Rio Amarillo (Honduras), and comprised the creation of NGB ortho-images of various sites, in order to uncover hidden archaeological remains.

Cite this Record

UAVs for archaeology: the sky is the limit. Jotka Verlee, Cornelis Stal, Britt Lonneville, Cameron McNeil, Alain De Wulf. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404661)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;