Photogrammetric studies of inaccessible sites in archaeology: Case study of burial chambers in Qubbet el-Hawa (Aswan, Egypt)

Publication date: February 2019

Source: Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 102

Author(s): Pérez-García José Luis, Mozas-Calvache Antonio Tomás, Barba-Colmenero Vicente, Jiménez-Serrano Alejandro


This study describes a new procedure for acquiring images and developing photogrammetric studies of inaccessible spaces in archaeology. The approach is based on the acquisition of photographs using a system mounted on a mast, with a length of up to 4 m. The camera is handled using a remote control assisted with a real-time viewer. After the acquisition of images, a photogrammetric process is developed. As a result, we can obtain photogrammetric products such as orthoimages that can be used for several purposes, such as the documentation of the initial status of the scene, the identification of elements, the planning of future work, etc. The procedure has been applied successfully to several burial chambers discovered in the Qubbet el-Hawa site (Aswan, Egypt). Among other results, we can highlight the identification of the deceased buried in a narrow intact chamber, which was opened for a short period, and the determination of the geometric measurements of the coffin that were usable in subsequent work. Thanks to the orthoimage obtained in this study the deceased of the QH34bb tomb was identified as Shemai, brother of governor Sarenput II. The obtaining of metric products of inaccessible spaces provides an important base of documentation to be used by other researchers with the great advantage of not affecting the scene and allowing them to design appropriate methods of conservation.