UAVs can provide archaeologists with aerial images of infrared wavelengths which can be extremely useful when surveying areas covered by soil. Satellites and helicopters were the only previous technology available for this type of surveying but they are expensive and have limitations. Operators can attach thermal imaging camera to the UAV and can detect aerial features buried up to half a mater under the earth’s surface.
UAVs are able to cover large areas of archaeological sites and can readily map out large habitation sites to reveal architectural features. The UAV can produce this visual data at efficiently at minimal cost or processing.
UAVs have already been utilised successfully to discover a 1000 year old village in New Mexico. The archaeologists were able to identify structures that had never been seen before and shed new light on the way in which the Puebloan people lived in the 11th Century AD.