Low Altitude Aerial Photography in Montezuma Canyon

Author(s): Haylie Ferguson; Scott Ure

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Archaeological Research in Montezuma Canyon, San Juan County, Utah" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Photogrammetric imagery, spatial modeling, and resulting high-resolution orthomosaics can be used to identify potential excavation areas, previously unrecorded architecture and other archaeological features, and to verify and update existing mapdata and site information. This paper discusses the methods and results from Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) mapping at three Ancestral Puebloan sites Montezuma Canyon. Our use of a UAS in conjunction with Global Positioning Systems (GPS), a high-resolution digital camera, a thermal imaging camera, and computer processing software resulted in the collection of thousands of georeferenced aerial photographs of archaeological sites, structures, and landscapes with centimeter-precision resolution and accuracy. Twenty-seven flights were conducted at two sites in Montezuma Canyon and one site on the adjacent plateau. These sites included Montezuma Village, Coalbed Village, and Site 13. The collected data was processed to produce high-resolution orthomosaics, topographic maps, and 3-Dimensional models of each site. Digital elevation models were created for each site which will allow for further GIS analyses. The sites and their varied landscapes each posed unique challenges, allowing us to refine our general and site-specific UAS reconnaissance methods. The data provide a baseline for future research including additional geospatial analyses, survey, and excavation in Montezuma Canyon.

Cite this Record

Low Altitude Aerial Photography in Montezuma Canyon. Haylie Ferguson, Scott Ure. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450474)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25177