UAV SURVEYING FOR A COMPLETE MAPPING AND DOCUMENTATION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDINGS. THE EARLY NEOLITHIC SITE OF PORTONOVO
Keywords: Archaeology, Laser Scanner, Digital Dense Map, Close Range Photogrammetry, UAV, Excavation, 3D Documentation
Abstract. The huge potential of 3D digital acquisition techniques for the documentation of archaeological sites, as well as the related findings, is almost well established. In spite of the variety of available techniques, a sole documentation pipeline cannot be defined a priori because of the diversity of archaeological settings. Stratigraphic archaeological excavations, for example, require a systematic, quick and low cost 3D single-surface documentation because the nature of stratigraphic archaeology compels providing documentary evidence of any excavation phase. Only within a destructive process each single excavation cannot be identified, documented and interpreted and this implies the necessity of a re- examination of the work on field. In this context, this paper describes the methodology, carried out during the last years, to 3D document the Early Neolithic site of Portonovo (Ancona, Italy) and, in particular, its latest step consisting in a photogrammetric aerial survey by means of UAV platform. It completes the previous research delivered in the same site by means of terrestrial laser scanning and close range techniques and sets out different options for further reflection in terms of site coverage, resolution and campaign cost. With the support of a topographic network and a unique reference system, the full documentation of the site is managed in order to detail each excavation phase; besides, the final output proves how the 3D digital methodology can be completely integrated with reasonable costs during the excavation and used to interpret the archaeological context. Further contribution of this work is the comparison between several acquisition techniques (i.e. terrestrial and aerial), which could be useful as decision support system for different archaeological scenarios. The main objectives of the comparison are: i) the evaluation of 3D mapping accuracy from different data sources, ii) the definition of a standard pipeline for different archaeological needs and iii) the provision of different level of detail according to the user needs.