Reach for Archaeological Research

For the past two summers, archaeologists from the University of Hong Kong, the University of Central Florida, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Armenian Institute for Archaeology and Ethnography have collaborated to conduct archaeological survey and excavation in Armenia using Reach, Reach RS, and Reach RS+ equipment. Aside from a variety of archaeological research goals, this fieldwork also evaluated the usability and reliability of Reach devices during archaeological projects.

Preparing an archaeological excavation for photogrammetry
Preparing an archaeological excavation for photogrammetry, using the Reach RS+ to geolocate the 3d model, summer 2019 Armenia. Photo by Jeannie Ko

During the 2018 survey, points of interest were collected with a Reach RS rover, receiving corrections from a Reach base over mobile Internet connections. A custom Android app allowed researchers to collect positional data directly from the Reach and precisely geotag photos of each find. That season, the team explored approximately 48 ha and recorded 430 find points in the field. Many points were measured with centimeter-level precision.

Dr. Peter J. Cobb of the University of Hong Kong
Dr. Peter J. Cobb of the University of Hong Kong prepares to record a point, summer 2019 Armenia. Photo by Ivi Fung

An overview of the 2018 experimentation with the Reach equipment is available to read in the following fully open-access research paper: “Centimeter-Level Recording for All: Field Experimentation with New, Affordable Geolocation Technology” in the Advances in Archaeological Practice Journal of the Society for Amerian Archaeology (SAA), published by Cambridge University Press.

Laying out an excavation trench boundaries using Reach RS+.
Laying out an excavation trench boundaries using the Reach RS+, summer 2019 Armenia. Photo by Canberk Günay

Initial work for this project involved the training of archaeological graduate students in technical methods, a topic documented in the following open-access research article: “Collaborative Approaches to Archaeology Programming and the Increase of Digital Literacy Among Archaeology Students” in the Open Archaeology journal published by De Gruyter.

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