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How Drones Are Helping Peru Save Its Ancient Temples, Pyramids and Cities

Peru is a country with an impressive collection of ancient ruins. And archaeologists have figured out a way to turn drones into one of their most reliable work assistants.

Small drones are helping researchers create site maps and three-dimensional models of sites, a process that used to take months or even years.

Speediness is important, because many of the ruins are at risk. According to Reuters:

Researchers are still picking up the pieces after a pyramid near Lima, believed to have been built some 5,000 years ago by a fire-revering coastal society, was razed in July by construction firms. That same month, residents of a town near the pre-Incan ruins of Yanamarca reported that informal miners were damaging the three-story stone structures as they dug for quartz.

Drones help "set boundaries to protect sites" by surveying the territory and monitoring for threats like illegal squatters, miners, or construction crews. They are also helping archaeologists create an easy-to-access digital repository which will hopefully catalyze awareness and aid reconstructing historic sites.

Below, Peruvian archaeologist and incoming Deputy Culture Minister Luis Jaime Castillo, shows us how the small drone helps him get work done around the country's most historic places:

Luis Jaime Castillo, a Peruvian archaeologist with Lima's Catholic University and an incoming deputy culture minister, flies a drone over the archaeological site of Cerro Chepen in Trujillo August 3, 2013. (REUTERS/Mariana Bazo)


A drone flies over the archaeological site of San Jose de Moro as it takes pictures in Trujillo, July 18, 2013. (REUTERS/Mariana Bazo) 


A drone flies over the archaeological site of Cerro Chepen as it takes pictures in Trujillo August 3, 2013. (REUTERS/Mariana Bazo)


Luis Jaime Castillo prepares a drone that will take pictures of the archaeological site of Cerro Chepen in Trujillo August 3, 2013.  (REUTERS/Mariana Bazo)


Luis Jaime Castillo flies a drone to take pictures of the archaeological site of San Jose de Moro in Trujillo July 18, 2013. (REUTERS/Mariana Bazo) 


Luis Jaime Castillo flies a drone to take pictures of the archaeological site of San Jose de Moro in Trujillo July 18, 2013. (REUTERS/Mariana Bazo) 

Keywords: Archaeology, Peru, Drones

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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