adventures in archaeological remote sensing

Research Interests

A typical archaeologist, I am interested in anything and everything to do with past human endeavour. However I am currently actively researching the following areas. If you’d like to see more details why not check out my publications page.

Airborne Remote Sensing

Exploring the potential and limitations of a range of airborne survey techniques, including lidar, multi / hyperspectral imaging and aerial photography. I specialise in progressing the technical understanding of these data with respect to investigating archaeological landscapes, completing my PhD thesis on the topic in 2011.
Since then I have led on the specification, acquisition and processing of a large-scale bespoke ALS (lidar) survey of the woodlands of West Sussex as part of the Secrets of the High Woods HLF-funded community archaeology project. My motivation and research interest here was to take the insights from my academic practice and make them available to the volunteer, commercial archaeologist and researchers.

Animation illustrating the capture of height data using a plane-based laser scanner

Learning Landscapes

My research in remote sensing has also incorporated study of the pedagogical aspects of remote sensing for archaeology. With increasing amounts of RS data now available, it is critical that we equip the next generation of archaeological professionals with the tools to manipulate and assess them. Working with the team at the Duke Immersive Virtual Environment in 2013 I ran a pilot study to explore how 3D interfaces affect our perception of archaeological landscapes.

I have also created and run training workshops for local amateur archaeologists in the interpretation of lidar, training over 100 people from a diverse range of backgrounds as part of the Secrets of the High Woods, HLF-funded project at the South Downs National Park.



Geophysical Survey

I am interested in the application of geophysical techniques, specifically earth resistance, magnetometry and ground penterating radar to explore the buried archaeology of upland areas. Specifically my research has focused on exploring the potential for linking data derived from ground-based methods to that collected using airborne sensors.

Me and the gradiometer

Open Source Software

I use open source software as the basis for the majority of my airborne remote sensing analysis, preferring the flexibility and openness of processing to the “black box” of many commercial alternatives. I am interested in developing ways of making the open source processing and visualisation techniques I use more accessible for archaeological researchers, enabling them to actively understand and fine-tune the input parameters, moving away from the dependence on external specialists. Consequently I also undertake much of my training, teaching and demonstration using open source tools, particularly GRASS and QGIS.



Landscape Change and Interaction

I am interested in the historic adaptation of subsistence strategies in currently marginal areas such as Dartmoor and Exmoor in the south-west of the UK. There is extensive physical evidence for previous exploitation of these areas where agriculture is currently untenable. As the world’s climate changes, we are given opportunities to understand past strategies for subsistence in these ecozones.

Field Systems on Exmoor

Management and Curation of Geospatial Data

I have extensive experience of the management of geospatial data and have previously worked as a Conservation Data Officer (2012) and Assistant Sites and Monuments Record Officer (2008) for the UK’s largest heritage charity, The National Trust and in the commercial sector as an Assistant Supervisor: Geomatics for Oxford Archaeology North (2007). My research in this respect revolves around developing techniques for the integration of spatial datasets including airborne survey, aerial photographic transcription and the records of invasive and non-invasive site survey. This is particularly pertinent in a heritage management context where increasing volumes of data must be available for interpretation in the face of multiple threats to the survival of archaeological remains.