The Hidden Cairns—A Case Study of Drone-Based ALS as an Archaeological Site Survey Method

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/330230

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Roiha, J.; Heinaro, E.; Holopainen, M. The Hidden Cairns—A Case Study of Drone-Based ALS as an Archaeological Site Survey Method. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 2010.

Title: The Hidden Cairns—A Case Study of Drone-Based ALS as an Archaeological Site Survey Method
Author: Roiha, Johanna; Heinaro, Einari; Holopainen, Markus
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Date: 2021-05-20
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/330230
Abstract: Conducting archaeological site surveys is time consuming, and large sites may have many small features or structures that are difficult to locate and interpret. Vegetation cover and dense forest hide small structures, like cairns, while at the same time forest cover can cause problems for LiDAR tools. In this case study, drone-based ALS (airborne laser scanning) was tested as an archaeological site survey tool. The research site was complex and located partially in a forested area, which made it possible to evaluate how forest cover affects data. The survey methods used were rather simple: visual analysis, point density calculations in the forest area, and, for site interpretation purposes, digitizing observations and viewshed analysis. Using straightforward methods allowed us to evaluate the minimum time and skills needed for this type of survey. Drone-based ALS provided good results and increased knowledge of the site and its structures. Estimates of the number of cairns interpreted as graves more than doubled as a result of the high-accuracy ALS data. Based on the results of this study, drone-based ALS could be a suitable high-accuracy survey method for large archaeological sites. However, forest cover affects the accuracy, and more research is needed.


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