Practicum: Drone Archaeology

Integrating aerial remote sensing in Mediterranean landscape archaeology

Date: 13 May – 2 June 2019

Deadline for applications: 31 March 2019

New remote sensing techniques are profoundly changing the study of archaeological remains and their management in the modern landscape. The resources needed for traditional airborne reconnaissance limited its implementation in archaeological and heritage projects, but innovative, more accessible technology has now tipped the balance. Especially drone-based remote sensing can produce extraordinary results at low cost, and has great potential for reconnaissance, monitoring and documentation purposes. Acquiring practical skills in this field is valuable for archaeological and heritage work all over the globe. Moreover, this expertise has many applications in other fields too – also beyond academia.

In this KNIR Practicum, you will explore the potential of aerial archaeology and related remote sensing techniques in theory and in the field. It equips you with practical skills, from analyzing historical photographs, satellite and LIDAR data, to flying drones in the field collecting new aerial images. In the lab, you learn to process datasets through various software packages (GIS, 3D modeling using structure from motion etc.). You will work on case-studies in south Italy. Topics range from the mapping of inaccessible swathes of mountainous landscapes, to the documentation of specific archaeological sites – both those hidden underground and those freshly excavated with standing remains. Guided by experts, you will learn how to read and interpret the collected images and datasets, and how to present them in reports and publications.

For the first, theoretical part you will stay in the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), for the second, fieldwork part we will travel to the research area in Molise where we will stay at the study center in Jelsi (CeDISA).

Dr. Tesse Stek (KNIR)

Participating experts:
1)      Aerial remote sensing techniques: prof. dr. G. Verhoeven (LBI for Archaeological Prospection & Virtual Archaeology, Wien, Austria)
2)      GIS, photogrammetry expert drs. J. Waagen (UvA, Netherlands)
3)      Various guest speakers from Italy for the theoretical part

6 ECTS, assigned upon completion of the final assignment

Assessment & Grading
Students’ work will be assessed on the basis of a preparatory assignment, active participation and skills, and a final project. The final project is based on a case study for which the student has gathered existing and new data during the course, and is to be submitted within one month after the practicum.

Course language

Target group and admission
The practicum is open to a maximum of 8 selected students at BA, MA or PhD level from all relevant disciplines, with an interest to develop skills in aerial archaeology and other remote sensing techniques, digital archaeology (GIS, image based modeling), field survey & landscape archaeology, and connected fields.

Fees and Bursaries
The selected participants from KNIR partner universities (UL, UvA, VU, UU RUN, RUG) will receive full KNIR fellowships. They will receive free accommodation in Italy (both in Rome and in Molise), as well as local travel costs to and within the research area in Molise. After successful completion of the final project, international travel costs to and from Rome will be reimbursed up to €100,-. Meals are not included, a kitchen is available at the accommodations. Selected participants from other institutions need to cover their own expenses, but will be housed at the KNIR and CeDISA at a reduced rate for the duration of the practicum.

Applications and deadline
Applications are welcome until 1 April 2019. Notice on acceptance will follow before 15 April 2019. Candidates can apply by filling out the application form via the link below, submitting a motivation letter, a recent CV and an updated overview of study results.

Facilities in Rome and Molise
The selected participants will be housed at the Royal Netherlands Institute (KNIR) in Rome’s Villa Borghese Park. From there, it is only a short walk to the historical centre of Rome. The KNIR accommodation offers shared bedrooms and bathrooms, includes a living and dining space, a kitchen, washing machine and wireless internet. All residents have 24/7 access to the library and gardens of the Royal Netherlands Institute. In Molise, the participants will be housed at the training and research facility of the Centro Didattico Internazionale di Studi Archeologici at Jelsi (CeDISA). CeDISA offers spartan shared bedrooms, bathrooms and a dining hall, a kitchen, washing machine as well as laboratory and lecture spaces.

More info
Phone: (+39)063269621