Up in the Air: Aerial Survey with Fragmented Heritage

The octocopter in action

We were thrilled this year to welcome members of the Fragmented Heritage Project (Website) to Kharaneh IV. Adrian and Tom joined us to conduct an aerial and terrestrial survey of the site and surrounding wadis through multiple technologies. They used an octocopter to capture high-resolution images of the site’s surface, a kite to capture images at higher altitudes, and a laser scanner to create a three-dimensional model of Kharaneh IV. We hope that through these images we can gain a better understanding of the distribution of surface artifacts (of which there are millions!) and identify whether the site surface is changing over time. As well, through the kite photography we are able to monitor changes to the courses of nearby wadis (river valleys). This is important to understand whether the rivers are coming closer to the site to protect against potential damage in the future. We look forward to having them return next year to continue their work at the site.

Tom with kites
Tom with the kite.

We allocated one of the Kharaneh IV crew members, Olivia, to help Adrian and Tom survey the site. She had the opportunity to use the octocopter, learn how to set up the laser scanner, and now is using a camera on a pole to finish capturing the site with high resolution images. Olivia has written up some of her experiences of working with aerial survey equipment at Kharaneh IV.

Flying a kite at work.

Perspective from the Crew: Guest Post by Olivia Mavrinac

Olivia with pole
Olivia’s high tech camera set up.

The other week I had the pleasure of joining the Fragmented Heritage team consisting of Adrian and Tom (dubbed the Nerd Squad). They introduced me to laser scanners, octocopters, GPS’s, high voltage batteries, and the wonderful world of technical gadgets. I was quickly promoted to battery girl, with the important task of making sure that the little beetle in the sky (the octocopter) had enough energy for its flight across the area. Tom showed me the quickest way to set up a tripod, which we both agreed was the best and only way. On their last day, it was decided that I needed a new job. They tied me to a camera attached to a 3 m long pole. I became a portable tripod. This was super awkward, but everybody had lots of fun seeing me walk around with it, so it made the weight much lighter. And they let me use the google glasses, so I shouldn’t complain! Sadly the masters of technology had to go back to warm showers and real coffee, leaving me with unfinished training, but I have a feeling that I will see them in the sequel next year: The Nerd Squad, part II. Drone/Pole Spice signing off (Olivia)

By DanielleMacdonald

Archaeologist, academic, working in Jordan, teaching in Tulsa

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