Chan Chan, the first northern archaeological site to be recorded with an unmanned aircraft

Photogrammetry of the heritage will facilitate research works, conservation and defense.

Through an unmanned aircraft, the Ministry of Culture could make a complete ortophoto of the archaeological complex of Chan Chan, in La Libertad, which allows to have a general and precise reference of the whole intangible area. The use of this new technology will help to have a reference in front of possible events of the El Niño phenomenon, as well as the works of conservations of the archaeological site.

This small aircraft of barely 80 centimeters of wingspan and 2.5 kilograms of weight, it has a compact photographic camera of high definition inside, which reaches a speed of 80 kilometers per hour and height of up to 750 meters. The unmanned plane permits to record photos of high definition with purposes of research, conservation and defense of the archaeological monuments.

This contemporary equipment has been used before in archaeological sites of Machu Picchu (Cusco) and Toro Muerto (Arequipa), where images with required sharpness, speed and precision were recorded.

In contrast to drones that are used in a punctual way in walled enclosures, this technology allowed a general view of the whole intangible area, that is to say, the 1414 hectares were recorded in only eight flights of 30 minutes each one. In total, there were made more than 8 thousand photos of the whole archaeological site in only two days.

“The benefits of this work will be to precisely know the problematic that the archaeological complex presents in a detailed level and in different components, which will hugely serve to legal defense of the site, states of conservations of the structures, etc”, said Maria Elena Córdova Burga, director of the Special Project Archaeological Complex Chan Chan of the Ministry of Culture.

Prior to images record, the specialists of the Geosystems Company, hired by the Vice-minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries, placed ten points in different sectors of the intangible zone, denominated geodesic points of control, with the purpose of connect them to the National Geographic Institute (IGN) and obtain the images with the required precision.

Due to its size and weight, the use of this equipment does not represent any threaten to the archaeological site, nor does it risk the integrity of users. The images recorded has more details in a lower height (75 meters minimum – 700 meters maximum).

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