In Peru, researchers and archaeologists are increasingly using drones to protect sites and speed up surveying work.
Small drones are being used to produce 3-d models of archaeological sites in the country, instead of the usual flat maps. And the work is taking days and weeks instead of months and years, reports Reuters.
“With this technology, I was able to do in a few days what had taken me years to do,” said Luis Jaime Castillo, a Peruvian archaeologist with Lima’s Catholic University and an incoming deputy culture minister who plans to use drones to help safeguard Peru’s archaeological heritage.
Amid destruction of sites by construction firms and miners, there is urgency both to map the sites and protect them from intruders.
The drones can be made for as little as $1,000.
“It’s like having a scalpel instead of a club, you can control it to a very fine degree,” said Jeffrey Quilter, an archaeologist with Harvard University who has worked at San Jose de Moro and other sites in Peru. “You can go up three meters and photograph a room, 300 meters and photograph a site, or you can go up 3,000 meters and photograph the entire valley.”