Geospatial technologies have revolutionized the way we explore and understand heritage and archaeological sites. Among these technologies, LIDAR and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) have become indispensable tools for archeologists, conservators, and heritage professionals. In this article, we will explore the advantages of these technologies and showcase some examples of their use in the field.
LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing technique that uses laser light to measure the distance to the ground or other surfaces. This technology creates a 3D model of the terrain, which can be used to identify archaeological features that are not visible on the surface. For example, in 2018, a team of researchers used LIDAR to map the ancient Maya city of Tikal in Guatemala. The resulting 3D model revealed the city’s complex urban landscape, including hidden structures and roadways that were previously unknown.
GPR, on the other hand, is a non-invasive geophysical technique that uses radar waves to image subsurface features. This technology can help archeologists and heritage professionals to identify buried structures, such as walls, foundations, and tombs. In 2020, a team of researchers used GPR to locate the remains of a Roman villa in Italy. The GPR survey revealed the villa’s layout, including the location of rooms, corridors, and an underground cistern.
Another geospatial technology that is useful for heritage and archaeological applications is photogrammetry. This technique involves taking photographs from different angles and using specialized software to create a 3D model of the object or site. Photogrammetry can be used to create detailed and accurate models of buildings, artifacts, and landscapes. For example, in 2017, a team of researchers used photogrammetry to create a digital model of the Temple of Bel in Syria. The model was used to document the temple’s architecture and to plan for its reconstruction after it was destroyed by ISIS.
The advantages of these geospatial technologies are numerous. They allow for non-invasive, rapid, and accurate mapping and documentation of archaeological sites and heritage buildings. They also provide detailed information about subsurface features that are not visible to the naked eye. These technologies can help to preserve and protect cultural heritage by providing valuable information for conservation and restoration projects.
In conclusion, LIDAR, GPR, and photogrammetry are powerful tools for heritage and archaeological applications. These technologies can provide detailed information about the layout, structure, and subsurface features of sites and buildings. They can also help to preserve and protect cultural heritage by providing valuable information for conservation and restoration projects. As such, they are indispensable tools for archeologists, conservators, and heritage professionals.