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ACRA Webinar: Aerial Archaeology, Then and Now

  • 11/12/2020
  • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
  • GotoWebinar
  • 58


  • Students who are ACRA members are eligible to receive our new student-only pricing. You MUST hold an ACRA student membership in order to qualify.

Registration is closed

Technical and narrative mapmaking is a primeval desire of humankind—to imagine, document, and celebrate our place in the cosmos and there are rich examples spanning the centuries before it was possible to actually leave the ground to observe our habitat. Once we did achieve the ability to go aloft, the landscape that we saw, though intimately familiar, was seen in a startling new way which revealed truths about our habitat that were totally unanticipated before we left the ground.

Developments in aviation and photography created a synergy that was uniquely exploited by archaeological projects leading to the discovery of huge sites throughout the agricultural and arid landscapes of Europe, North Africa, and the Americas. Many of these sites were virtually invisible from the ground. Advanced photo sensors; infrared, hyper and multispectral, and the development of LiDAR and Drone based systems continue to reveal new sites throughout the world.

Today, with a light aircraft, high resolution cameras, and a thorough survey protocol, huge landscapes can be covered in a matter of hours with photographs capturing both quantitative data and relevant qualitative information about context, scale and character. The qualitative aspects of narrative photography not only add context to important data at the site, but in an increasingly visual culture, artistic and narrative photography provides a hook to draw people into the story of important landscape research.

The operational, technological, regulatory, and economic differences between conventional and unmanned aerial platforms; and software available to process imagery are changing rapidly and deserve careful attention when considering project design for survey and imaging of project sites. Attendees of this webinar will receive specific knowledge of the state of aerial imaging technology today and detailed options for its deployment in the service of archaeological research/documentation/communications. The webinar will address project design and provider selection, and will also discuss costs, regulatory issues, resolution at different altitudes and speeds, and general pros and cons of the technology.

Note: This webinar will occur on Eastern Time


Christopher Boyer

Christopher Boyer is a commercial pilot, professional aerial photographer, and founder of Kestrel Aerial Services, Inc., an aerial survey and mapping company devoted to academic, scientific, and documentary imaging of landscape projects throughout the western United States. With a focus on natural resources and community dynamics, Chris provides low-level oblique photography, orthophotography and 3D terrain modeling, as well as hyper/multispectral imaging for a wide variety of projects. The motivating theme behind most of Chris’ project work is the combination of high resolution quantitative data and compelling narrative, qualitative imagery in helping tell the stories of natural and cultural landscape change.

Chris’ engagement with projects addressing changing communities in response agricultural, natural resource, and energy issues, inform his work with INSTAAR and other groups. His historical research on the interplay between aerial imagery and community identity, facilitate a broad historical perspective on the role of aerial photography in archaeological exploration and potential future applications.



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