Historical Photogrammetry: Bringing a New Dimension to Historic Landscape Reconstruction


Archaeologists always strive to use every available source of information when conducting research, and historic imagery and aerial photography are nothing new to the field. However, new technical developments are bringing another dimension to these old sources of information. Many historic aerial photos were taken in a series of densely overlapping photos to minimize the effects of lens distortion for use in surveillance, cartography, or other purposes where accuracy in measurement was important. While useful, the resulting photos also create stereoscopic sets that are ideal for analysis using photogrammetric methods. These techniques allow researchers to generate three-dimensional reconstructions of the landscape as it existed when the photos were taken. The resulting models can then be compared to models generated from modern imagery to examine landscape dynamics on a regional or local scale at extraordinarily high resolutions. Very small changes to the landscape, and to individual archaeological sites can be mapped, measured and analyzed. In some cases, it is even possible to explore sites that have ceased to exist today.

This article presents selected case studies from North and South America demonstrating some of the unique capabilities of this innovative approach to quickly and efficiently address archaeological questions.

Cite this Record

Historical Photogrammetry: Bringing a New Dimension to Historic Landscape Reconstruction. Abel Traslaviña, James Zimmer-Dauphinee, Steven Wernke. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443298)

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Abstract Id(s): 22700