The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLVIII-4/W7-2023
22 Jun 2023
 | 22 Jun 2023


F. Vacatello, S. Roccella, and A. Vannini

Keywords: Lidar, Remote Sensing, Archaeology, Landscape Archaeology, UAV

Abstract. Today, there is an increasing use of airborne sensors in archaeology, especially to investigate the surface of more or less vast territories quickly and accurately. In particular, airborne laser scanning technologies from small remotely piloted aircraft are rapidly developing towards increasingly high-performance solutions for the investigation of archaeological evidence hidden by vegetation or more or less substantial soil deposits. The proposed contribution intends to insert itself within this field of archaeological research by presenting "UAVIMALS" (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integrated with Micro Airborne Laser Scanner), an aerial remote sensing system of "soil marks", designed for surface archaeological investigations and the result of an Early Career Grant from the National Geographic Society. The system, consisting of a customised drone based on an open architecture and software for vehicle control and data processing, integrates a solid-state laser sensor, commonly engineered for obstacle avoidance, but here exploited to process accurate DTM (Digital Terrain Model) of small land surfaces with a significant reduction in cost and acquisition time. The system, whose engineering was contributed by the BioRobotics Institute of the S. Anna University of Pisa, was tested within the archaeological context of Leopoli - Cencelle (Tarquinia, Italy). A mediaeval city that has been researched for about 25 years by the Chair of Christian and Medieval Archaeology at the 'Sapienza' University of Rome. Experimentation missions carried out on the site, which is still only partially investigated, have been successful in bringing to light some urban areas that had not yet been investigated.