Creating a digital model in archaeology using drones

The use of drones in archaeology is more and more common because they provide very detailed aerial images over archaeological sites and their features, sometimes even to find them easier.

Munca de teren in arheologie poate fi deseori epuizanta deoarece inspectia zonei de interes trebuie facuta la pas iar in cazul unei suprafete mari sau foarte mari aceasta poate costa mult timp si resurse.

Movila de la Susani - arheologie

With the help of drones, archaeologic site inspections is done significantly faster and more accurate, subsequently the images taken being processed with photogrammetry software offering a wide range of analyzes and measurements that can be reused whenever necessary.

At the same time, archaeological sites monitoring offers the possibility to determine theirs modifications regarding aspects such as the level of advance of vegetation, damage or deterioration as a result of agricultural activities or natural reasons, which allows planning in time.

The of location of the analyzed archaeological site

Harta Susani - Locatie movila arheologica

The archaeological site Susani – Gramurada from Jupani is located on the northern side of Susani locality, Traian Vuia commune, Timis county and is part from a 4 mounds group. It dates from the beginning of the Bronze Age, more exactly Hallstatt A.

3D Model

Model 3D Movila arheologie

The 3D Model can be used for measurements and for creating virtual tours. Also, the discovered areas can be scanned in order to have a better understanding of the site and its visualization in space. Using 3D model it can be used for digital reconstruction.

Model arheologic 3D - Sit arheologic


For a high precision, our team used georeferenced ground control points (GCP) which with their help managed to create a model with a precision of 0.55cm .

The flight took place at an altitude approximately 40m above ground level, and the shot interval was set at 2 seconds. 920 Photos were used to create the model, resulting in a dense point cloud of 150,094,956 points, and the 3D model contains 30,018,902 polygons.

The orthophotoplan presented has a spatial resolution of 2.61cm/pixel.

Due to its high accuracy, accurate 2D measurements can be made between excavations determining the location of the discoveries.

Ortofotoplan masuratori 2D - Distanta dintre sapaturi

Digital elevation model

The resolution of the digital elevation model i.e. (DEM), is the digital representation of the earth’s surface and offers a detailed perspective of all the unevenness present on the analyzed surface. Following the analyzes performed, the resolution of the presented DEM is 1.98cm/pixel.

Ortofotoplan movilaModel digital de elevatie

The line marked with number 1 represents the depth of the excavations made for the archaeological discoveries, where the mound of earth has a height of above 4.8m and the discoveries were made at a depth of 3.7m .

DEM Inaltime movila
DEM Adancime sapatura movila


This type of project digitalization bring advantages such as the possibility of remote collaboration between other archaeologists and are also flexible in making decisions.

If you liked this article see our other archaeological project in which our team took part.