Aerial Photography in the Potenza Valley Survey -- A Chi Vuole, Non Mancano Modi

Abstract

This presentation ponders the aerial archaeology part of the Potenza Valley Survey (PVS). Since the project start in 2000, the main aim of the PVS has been the study of the settlement dynamics along circa 400 km$^2$ of the Potenza river valley in central Adriatic Italy (Marche). The talk~is divided in~three parts (past, present and future), of which the first deals with the airborne data acquisition approaches employed in the PVS during the first decade. Although the gathering of aerial imagery predominantly relied on standard photography from small Cessna’s using observer-based sorties, non-visible imaging and unmanned platforms were also part of the toolkit the PVS came to rely upon. The second part will offer some present-day technological-methodological-theoretical reflection on these airborne imaging solutions. Using what-if'' scenarios, the effectiveness and suitability of the past PVS approach for doing landscape archaeology’’ at the scale of a river valley will be called into question. Could we have employed strategies to decrease the subjectivity and bias when collecting airborne imagery? In the third and final part, the presentation will discuss some future challenges and opportunities for interpretative mapping. Irrespective of the possible data acquisition issues tackled in part two, most forms of aerial photography can deliver meaningful insight about the past if proper post-acquisition pipelines are in place. Two recent PVS mapping projects will illustrate this. Mapping of the Montarice shows how to avoid slow single-image workflows and extract new topographical clues. The Monte Primo case study illustrates how to obtain a full 3D interpretative map. Please cite as: Verhoeven, G., Vermeulen, F., 2018. Aerial photography in the Potenza Valley Survey – A chi vuole, non mancano modi. International Aerial Archaeology Conference AARG 2018, 12 September 2018, Venice, Italy. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1419492

Geert Julien Joanna Verhoeven
Geert Julien Joanna Verhoeven
Vice Director, Senior Researcher