AGH UST team of land surveyors visited Jordan for archeological survey

Ground laser scanning technology in use; photo: Maciek Bernaś, KSAF AGH UST

Classical land surveying – tacheometry; photo: Maciek Bernaś, KSAF AGH UST

Members of the expedition in Petra; photo: Maciek Bernaś, KSAF AGH UST

Inventory work in the ancient city of Tuwaneh; photo: Maciek Bernaś, KSAF AGH UST

Celebrations of the 100th. anniversary of Poland’s independence; photo: Maciek Bernaś, KSAF AGH UST

Handheld laser scanner being used for inventory work at the ruins of a bathhouse, Tuwaneh; photo: Maciek Bernaś, KSAF AGH UST

GNSS measurements and ground laser scanning at a site; photo: Maciek Bernaś, KSAF AGH UST

Handheld laser scanner being used for inventory work at the ruins of a bathhouse, Tuwaneh; photo: Maciek Bernaś, KSAF AGH UST

During the recent BARI expedition, AGH UST students conducted field research in Jordan – at the site of the ancient city of Tuwaneh and the Roman military fort of Dajaniya. The data collected during the expedition will allow the researchers to create spatial models of the excavated site.

XVII BARI Expedition, which took place between 2 and 16 November, was organised by Dahlta Academic Association of Geodesy Students from the Faculty of Mining Geodesy and Environmental Protection in cooperation with the Institute of Archeology of the Jagiellonian University. This year’s expedition received a grant from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education within the framework of the Ministry’s program ‘ Najlepsi z Najlepszych! 3.0’.

The pioneering inventory work took place in a relatively unexplored part of the country – Al-Tafila and Ma’an provinces, where Polish archeologists from UJ Institute of Archeology had been conducting unique research aiming to gain a better insight into the history of the region as well as to protect the site’s cultural heritage.

The researchers sought to develop a methodology for inventoring archeological sites located in desert terrains. The inventory work covered two sites: the ancient city of Tuwaneh and the Roman fort of Dajaniya. Members of the expedition were set various tasks, whose scope was consulted with the archeologists working on the site on a permanent basis. The field work started with fixing survey control points and determining their global coordinates for the two sites. To this purpose, the team used measurements obtained from satellites as well as by means of classical tacheometry.

Using laser, the research team scanned the entire fort and selected sections of the city of Tuwaneh – including the ‘caravanserai’. Data from several dozen scanning points (FARO M70) could be collected during one day. The measurement work was supported with scanning control network (shields), whose coordinates were determined with a tacheometer in a global system. During the scanning work our team of surveyors used FARO Freestyle3D handheld scanner to inventory archeological remains inside the fort. The enormous amounts of data collected will allow the creation of spatial models of the finds in the form of point clouds.

An important aspect of the research work was the use of close-range photogrammetry. The photographs taken by the research staff enabled them to create numerical models of the terrain as well as orthophotomaps of the researched sites and 3D models of selected items – an underground tunnel in Tuwaneh and the remains of ancient bathhouses. In addition, owing to the fact that whatever remains of the ancient city of Tuwaneh is subject to increasing plunder, the photogrammetric photographs were used to document 119 plunder holes.

Courtesy of the Navigate Company, the team was equipped with Spectra Precision SP60 - a modern GNSS receiver, which supports real-time Trimble CenterPoint RTX corrections. This technology makes it possible to conduct measurements using one receiver anywhere in the world, in all conditions, with the horizontal precision of 2cm, without using the network of ground reference stations. The innovativeness of the RTX technology greatly facilitates land surveying work supporting archeological research. The SP60 receiver was used to measure control points and landmarks which were necessary to generate a virtual tour of the Dajaniya port. Panoramic photographs were taken using spherical cameras Theta S.C. contributed by Ricoh Polska.

The spatial data collected by the researchers will constitute a database of objects of cultural heritage, while processing the data will enable the creation of comprehensive archeological documentation.

The findings and outcomes of the study will be presented at numerous land surveying and interdisciplinary conferences in Poland and abroad.