Aerial, surface, and subsurface multimodal mapping in Coastal Peru: Insights from Cerro San Isidro, Moro Region, Nepeña Valley

Kayla Golay Lausanne (Lead Author), David Chicoine, Jeisen Navarro Vega, George F. Lau

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This article describes a series of steps to integrate multiple modes of archaeological mapping in arid and agricultural settings. We use the coastal region of Peru as a case study and share our recent field experience at Cerro San Isidro, a multicomponent hill site located in the agriculture-intensive and mid-elevation (about 500 m asl) Moro region of the Nepeña Valley. In June and July 2022, we spent eight weeks deploying a combination of drone aerial imagery, pedestrian GPS reconnaissance, and GPR survey to map the surface and subsurface features at the site and in the adjacent agricultural fields. Our efforts suggest that the ancient settlement extended over an area of at least 50 ha, well beyond the visible surface architecture. Using a multimodal approach to confirming the partial destruction of archaeological vestiges by modern agricultural encroachment is both time-effective and noninvasive. The article offers insights from our experience, including the sequence of field operations, technical troubleshooting, and the collection and integration of datasets. We discuss the methodological potential and implications of this combination of multimodal mapping and its deployment in coastal Peru, a region that, like many others in the world, is increasingly subject to rapid agricultural expansion and other anthropogenic developments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Archaeological Practice
Early online date5 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Apr 2024


  • Peru
  • archaeological survey
  • drone imagery
  • ground-penetrating radar
  • multimodal mapping
  • remote sensing

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