Terrestrial Scanning at Pacbitun


The majority of terrestrial scanning projects in archaeology have focused on heritage documentation, preservation, and the 3D reconstruction of prominent sites and objects. While these are very important archaeological foci, not many have used terrestrial scanning methods for prospection and feature analysis, similar to the way many have employed airborne LiDAR. While airborne LiDAR scanning is able to situate and analyze archaeological sites on an expansive scale, the ground-based method also captures and defines any landscape anomalies or depressions from cultural features that have remained invisible to the naked eye due to environmental restrictions. In an attempt to test this recording method, we set out to paint a non-invasive, 3D digitized picture of the ancient Maya site of Pacbitun, Belize, using terrestrial scanning to distinctly detail Pacbitun’s structures, plazas, causeways, and karst features. This paper details the process through which 3D terrestrial scanning was executed at Pacbitun and three associated peripheral caves during the 2012 and 2013 field seasons. We discuss the potential laser scanning has for visual analysis in archaeology and evaluate application difficulties encountered in the field, as well as current data interpretation issues.

Cite this Record

Terrestrial Scanning at Pacbitun. ( tDAR id: 392772) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8RX9DJG

URL: https://www.pacbitunarchaeology.com

Spatial Coverage

min long: -89.006; min lat: 17.092 ; max long: -88.977; max lat: 17.11 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Field Director(s): Jennifer Weber

Principal Investigator(s): Terry Powis

No resources have been associated with this project.