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Unmanned aerial mapping for Peru ruins

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8 August 2012 by Luke McCormick

Unmanned aircraft are to be used by archeologists in Peru to map ruins.

It is expected the use of the high-flying technology could radically speed up the time it takes to gather data at historical sites.

Mapping is an enormously time consuming process and can take years to complete.

It is hoped a device developed by archeologists and engineers from Vanderbilt University in the US, to be tested later this month at the Mawchu Llacta Site, could accelerate the process.

Using cameras and a Geographic Information System (GIS) archeologists hope to three-dimensionally map the area.

"To say anything about past societies-past social dynamics-we need to be able to place the material traces of past peoples in their fullest context possible. Mapping is therefore at the core of archaeological research," Prof Wernke told BBC News.

"Mawchu Llacta is located at [a] high altitude of 4,100m (13,450ft), [making it] a good site for testing the upper altitude limits of current UAV technology," Prof Wernke said.

Mawchu Llacta was the site of one of the largest forced resettlement programs in history, when Spanish colonialists moved around 1.5 million native Andeans into planned towns in the 1570s.

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