LiDAR and Archaeology

LiDAR and Archaeology

Explore the uses of LiDAR technology in archaeological contexts.


9 - 12

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Idea for Use in the Classroom

Show students the LiDAR and Archaeology infographic. Then lead students in a series of thought experiments:

Tell students that RADAR stands for Radio Detection and Ranging. Ask them—given what they know—to imagine how RADAR and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) are similar and how they are different.

Tell students that LiDAR is also used by self-driving cars. Ask them—given what they know—to imagine how this might work.

Next, ask students to predict other situations besides a heavy tree canopy in which LiDAR could serve archaeologists. (They may realize that LiDAR could be used in inaccessible locations—too high, too deep, too steep, or blocked access.)

Finally, divide the class into seven groups. Assign each group one of these words: condition (e.g., like new/damaged/eroded), modification, boundaries, buildings, agriculture, coastlines, and topography. Ask each group to predict and then research what types of information archaeologists could learn from LiDAR related to their word and find an example. Ask: What could archaeologists do with such information? Guide them to the Explore More tab to help them get started. When each group has completed their research, it should share its information with the class.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Clint Parks
Roza Kavak
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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