Aerial Thermography

The KAMBE project (and particularly co-director Kevin Fisher) is working in conjunction with Prof. Jesse Casana (Department of Anthropology, University of Arkansas) on a new National Endowment for the Humanities-supported project that will assess the ability of aerial thermography to detect subsurface archaeological features under different environmental conditions.  This will involve the use of a new multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on loan from the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) at the University of Arkansas.  This UAV can be GPS-guided and is capable of carrying multiple digital and thermal cameras.  This techinique involves the use of a mounted thermal camera capable of detecting minute differences in surface temperatures that might be the result of subsurface features that capture heat preferentially and cool at a different rate than the surrounding soil.  These differences in heating and cool are impacted by the time of day, soil moisture, vegetation, and a variety of other factors, and the effect of these factors on thermographic imaging will be evaluated as part of this work as it gets underway in 2013.  The results from our two sites in Cyprus will be compared with results obtained from other components of the project, taking place in South Dakota and Dubai.  Aerial thermography was used successfully by Ken Kvamme (Department of Anthropology, University of Arkansas) as part of his remote sensing work at Double Ditch State Historic Site in North Dakota (see e.g. Kvamme, K. L. & S. A. Ahler. 2007. “Integrated remote sensing and excavation at Double Ditch State Historic Site, North Dakota.” American Antiquity 72: 539-561), and this project will build on this work by evaluating the effectiveness of thermographic studies under various environmental conditions.

Cinestar ‘octocopter’ UAV in flight carrying a digital SLR camera

Equipped with a digital SLR camera, the UAV will also be used to take high resolution aerial photos of Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios and the sites at Maroni that will allow us to create digital elevation models (DEMs) for the sites themselves and the surrouding landscapes using photogrammetry.

The UAV will be deployed on Cyprus as an extension of KAMBE in the Fall of 2013.

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