As part of the Heritage Lottery funded project designed to develop, promote and research the Stonea Camp site Oxford Archaeology East performed a 3D survey of the site. Completed in April 2017, the results of the process will help archaeologists understand and interpret the design of the site, provide an interactive and unique birds-eye view of the site and help to inform future decisions to manage and preserve it.
One of the most innovative recording techniques archaeologists have started to use in recent years is photogrammetry. It involves taking a series of photographs which can be processed and manipulated by software to create scaled photo-realistic 3D models of archaeological sites. At the scale of Stonea Camp, the quickest and easiest way to capture enough aerial photographs to create a photographic map of the area is to fly a drone.
Jamie Quartermaine of Oxford Archaeology undertook the drone flight on a sunny dry day in the week leading up to our first open day, ably assisted by Andrew Callaghan of Fenland Bushcraft and Tim Nightingale of 20Twenty Productions – a drone enthusiast himself. This captured thousands of aerial photographs which were then stitched together using the software package Agisoft PhotoScan. Not only does this correct for perspective, it allows us to accurately measure distances and manipulate the image in 3D.
In relation to the results, Jamie said ‘all in all a really useful view of a remarkable site and demonstrates what can be achieved using modern technology’.