Capturing archaeological sites and finds in Honduras

Researchers of the Department of Geography have been invited by Dr. Cameron McNeil of Lehman College (New York) to join the PARAC project, investigating the reasons for the collapse of the Mayan civilization. Their role in the project was the generation of highly accurate and realistic 3D models of the environment of the archaeological sites Rio Amarillo and Piedras Negras. This was done through the combination of classic topographic measurements, using total station and GNSS, and the acquisition of aerial images, using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV. Moreover, the UAV was also deployed for capturing aerial NGB pictures, replacing the classic red band by a near infrared band and thus capturing images that indicate the reflectance of the study area in the NIR part of the spectrum. Through this technique, crop marks can be detected, possibly indicating previously unknown archaeological structures. Finally, the researchers worked in close collaboration with the lithics experts set up at the project’s lab, creating 3D models of the most interesting or extraordinary finds of previous excavations.

Research units

Staff members


  • Lehman College, CUNY (Cameron McNeil)

  • Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia (IHAH)