Tag Archive | archaeology

UAV – Unmanned Archaeological Vehicle

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

Since its discovery in 1970s, a Native American settlement called Blue J by scientists, remained obscured by thousand years’ worth of eroded stone and wind-blown sand. Excavations only partially revealed remains of households and plazas, but the monumental, ceremonial buildings, a telltale sign of a New Mexico’s Chacoan community were missing, and remained a mystery.

Scans from aerial surveys show thermal images on the left with photographic images of the surface on the right. (Photos courtesy Kantner and Casana)

Scans from aerial surveys show thermal images on the left with photographic images of the surface on the right. (Photos courtesy Kantner and Casana)

 

It would probably still be a mystery if Dr. John Kantner and Dr. Jesse Casana haven’t decided to use a UAV for thermal imaging of the site. A Cinestar 8 octocopter drone equipped with a heat sensing camera was used to conduct five aerial surveys, each approximately 11 minutes long. Surveys revealed so called kiva (ceremonial building), a discovery that will shed much needed light on the Blue J site. The technology that would have been otherwise used, requires an airplane equipped with expensive sensors flying at low altitude over the settlement, something that is out of the budget for most archaeologists.

 

Firefly Cinestar 8 similar to the one used for the archaeological survey

Firefly Cinestar 8 similar to the one used for the archaeological survey (photo courtesy of Firefly Systems)

 

Due to the ban on civilian drone flights in the US, the aforementioned survey was conducted in the gray area of FAA legislation: student volunteers were hired to operate the drone, since hobbyist are not affected by the ban.

More about the topic here and here.