Archaeology is a branch of the humanities and is considered a social science. In archaeological surveys, drones help archaeologists to focus on more ground instead of walking through the land and these drones can easily take pictures from different angles and provide comprehensive, accurate, and informative data.
Now we will talk about the 2018 survey. In that year archaeologists adopted fixed-wing drones on the set of remote Scottish islands that flew miles over 5 days and got four thousand ultra HD images and 420 million, a massive data which is gathered at record speed..
Do you know about SkyKam? SkyKam is an Edinburgh-based drone service, since 2019 Skykam is operating drones to collect 3D models of historical Scottish landmarks. Such as The Red Castle, Glamis Castle and Caterthuns..
Drones Are Compulsory For Historians And Archaeologists:
Drones are the most important tool for Archaeologists. They are using drones technologies to get more accurate and clear great aerial views of archaeological sites and their features.
Fieldwalking and Aerial Photographs:
Nowadays researchers and archaeologists are experiencing the pleasure of fieldwalking. It is a sort of survey technique in which they walk across a very large area and that particular area of land may be of archaeological interest and their choice. In this method, the working team makes a group spread out in the methodical grid way just like a parallel line of the set to see and analyse and find any archaeological object that is pushed to the land surface. By following this method sometimes they find flint tools and some other sort of artefacts.
The Detection of Potsherds and More:
What they will find after an archaeological survey- They fly a pre-programmed drone over the selected area of the land and take out overlapping images. These images are joined together to make it a high-resolution largest image. After getting this amazing biggest picture then experts analyse that image by a machine learning algorithm, collect all the archaeological materials present in that picture and identify various types of material culture.
It is also said that according to drone experts, stone tools, lithics, and other metals are also best for this method. Old traditional survey methods or traditional aerial photography methods are very much costly and labour-intensive and require much time but in contrast, automated surveys are becoming fantastic, time-saving, and effective in the field. Drones can fly much closer to the land and collect detailed photos and accurate 3D models.
Main Features Of Drones For Archaeological Surveys:
We have already mentioned why drones become essential for aerial 3D photography but some other highlighted features can be used for archaeological surveys.
- Drones help in documenting and recording up-to-date discoveries for archaeologists.
- The groundwork survey time becomes less from 2 or 3 weeks to 1-3 days
- They assist in future dig sites planning
- Drones analyse and monitor illegal excavation
- They can assist ancient sites with digital reconstruction
- As experienced by researchers, drones can transform the field
- They protect sites and monitor threats and can create a digital repository of ruins and aid in the reconstruction also.
Top Rated Mapping Surveys for Analysis of Site’s Condition:
Most commonly there are two methods the archaeologists use for analysing and monitoring their sites.
- Lidar Mapping Survey Technology
- Photogrammetry Mapping Survey Technology
Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Mapping Technology For Archaeologists:
This Lidar survey technology is all about light detection and ranging and it measures distance by using lasers and it is more accurate than photogrammetry mapping.
Some key points of Lidar mapping are:
- It provides a top-level and complete detail about sites
- It helps in creating 3D models and photos
- It doesn’t need any additional pilot skills to operate drones because understanding lidar mapping is very critical itself
- It is more costly compared to other drones surveys because of its camera quality, and lidar sensor
- Lidar viewer Pro is an amazing software that digitally removes all the vegetation that allows archaeologists to monitor the site’s structure in detail.
Photogrammetry Mapping Survey Technology:
It is another best mapping survey that claims 2.9 cm accuracy of the original material but it requires more time to observe the site’s true conditions. It provides low-quality satellite photos and helicopter photography is very expensive for archaeological surveys.