Looking down on archaeology


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or as they are called colloquially, drones, have supported the documentation of cultural heritage and archaeology for over two decades, with their use and potential having increased dramatically in the last six years as a result of the greater accessibility to affordable off-the-shelf drones with useful capabilities. The technology behind these small but useful remote-sensing platforms, which can be used for aerial photography, survey and archaeological prospection, has facilitated the generation of image products ranging from photographic records to orthophotomosaics and 3D models, and has enhanced the capability of rapidly documenting and monitoring sensitive locations. The basic concepts defining the use of UAVs and their potential and limitations will be considered, and examples of use by the Low Altitude Remote Sensing Over Compact Sites (LARSOCS) project of the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta will be presented.

Dr John Charles Betts, an engineer by profession, is a senior lecturer in the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the Faculty of Arts, University of Malta and will be giving a lecture entitled Looking down on archaeology on Wednesday, 12 December 2018. The presentation is part of The Archaeological Society Malta’s lecture programme and will be held at 6 pm at the National Museum of Archaeology, Republic Street, Valletta.

Photo caption: The Roman Villa, Żejtun

Photo credit: Taken by ‘Harpy’, drone piloted by Dr John Betts