Finding Medieval Irish People Using Drones: The HELM Project

Finding Medieval Irish People Using Drones: The HELM Project


A team of students led by Co-Principal Investigators Dr Jenny Immich and Dr Vicky McAlister will develop a geospatial methodology to automate data analysis originating from small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAV) that seeks to identify the homes of ordinary medieval people within the modern Irish landscape. Known as aerial archeology, this work investigates archeological remnants on the surface of the earth without excavation. Students will create iterative Python scripts to analyze elevation datasets (hillshades) in areas surrounding medieval castles. Students will create advanced analysis methodologies for exploring low-lying archeological features in the landscape, including principal component, standard deviation, and difference mean elevations. Students with interest and appropriate backgrounds will be challenged to develop machine learning methods for identification of linear archeology. The resulting portfolio of work will be robust, including workflows, metadata, methodologies, and scripts. This work will solidify geospatial methodologies in advancing our knowledge of where everyday people lived in Ireland during the medieval period, a question that has long perplexed archeologists. In addition, it will fundamentally ground our understanding of complex topics in urbanization to the modern period and shed light on the development of communities across time.

Project Lead: Vicky McAlister, Southeast Missouri State University
Project Manager: Harshit Sahay

View the team’s final poster

Watch the team’s final presentation below:



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History and Anthropology, SE Missouri State U.