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Drones 2018, 2(3), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones2030029

The Potential of Drones and Sensors to Enhance Detection of Archaeological Cropmarks: A Comparative Study Between Multi-Spectral and Thermal Imagery

1
Department of Prehistory, Ancient History and Archaeology, ATHAEMHIS Group, Faculty of Geography and History, University of Salamanca, c/Cervantes s/n, 37008 Salamanca, Spain
2
School of Land Surveying, Geodesy and Mapping Engineering, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Camino de la Arboleda s/n, 28031 Madrid, Spain
3
Department of Geography and Spatial Management, Geoforest-IUCA Group, University of Zaragoza, c/Pedro Cerbuna 12, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain
4
Museum of Teruel, Pza. Fray Anselmo Polanco nº3, 44001 Teruel, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 12 August 2018 / Published: 29 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue (Re)Defining the Archaeological Use of UAVs)
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Abstract

This paper presents experimentation carried out at the Roman Republican city of La Caridad (Teruel, Spain), where different tools have been applied to obtain multispectral and thermal aerial images to enhance detection of archaeological cropmarks. Two different drone systems were used: a Mikrokopter designed by Tecnitop SA (Zaragoza, Spain) and an eBee produced by SenseFly Company (Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland). Thus, in this study, we have combined in-house manufacturing with commercial products. Six drone sensors were tested and compared in terms of their ability to identify buried remains in archaeological settlements by means of visual recognition. The sensors have different spectral ranges and spatial resolutions. This paper compares the images captured with different spectral range sensors to test the potential of this technology for archaeological benefits. The method used for the comparison of the tools has been based on direct visual inspection, as in traditional aerial archaeology. Through interpretation of the resulting data, our aim has been to determine which drones and sensors obtained the best results in the visualization of archaeological cropmarks. The experiment in La Caridad therefore demonstrates the benefit of using drones with different sensors to monitor archaeological cropmarks for a more cost-effective assessment, best spatial resolution and digital recording of buried archaeological remains. View Full-Text
Keywords: aerial photography; archaeological surveying; buried archaeological remains; drones; multispectral sensors; thermal sensors; index vegetation; PCs aerial photography; archaeological surveying; buried archaeological remains; drones; multispectral sensors; thermal sensors; index vegetation; PCs
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Agudo, P.U.; Pajas, J.A.; Pérez-Cabello, F.; Redón, J.V.; Lebrón, B.E. The Potential of Drones and Sensors to Enhance Detection of Archaeological Cropmarks: A Comparative Study Between Multi-Spectral and Thermal Imagery. Drones 2018, 2, 29.

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