Gwendelyn Jones is one of five Digital Humanities undergraduate fellows from the 2017-2018 academic year. At the time of the year-long fellowship project, Gwendelyn was a student at Smith College.

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a remote sensing method which uses a pulsing laser to measure ranges. The subsequent point cloud is incredibly dense and provides a wide range of data. This point cloud can be used to create other geospatial models, such as digital elevation, canopy, and building models. This makes it possible to model archaeological features without disturbing or damaging a site that is difficult to reach or heavily damaged to begin with.

Below: A digital elevation model (DEM) created by Jones. The two mines nearing the field station are circled in red. Near them tailing piles (piles of rock removed from the mines and stripped of the desired minerals) are also visible.

(Click image to view)

Uncovering a New England Ghost Town

LiDAR and GPR Explorations of Historic Architecture in Western MA

Gwendelyn Jones used Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data available from local drone alongside multispectral LiDAR data and 3D modeling software to explore the landscape around Smith College’s MacLeish Field Research Station to understand and characterize the history of human impacts upon the local landscape. Using an archaeological approach, these digital tools allowed Gwendelyn to explore lost and undocumented mines, 18th and 19th century architecture and home sites on a broad scale that is not feasible with conventional methods. The final products of this research included an extensive publishable paper on the entire project. This project demonstrated how LiDAR data and digital modeling can be useful as tools for exploration and analyses while revealing the unexplored past of our local environment.