Vilnius was the city chosen by the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) for its annual meeting in 2016. Around 1600 people were at the capital of Lithuania for the most relevant periodic meeting in the European archaeological research.
Our research team could not miss that essential annual event, so our colleagues José M. Costa García (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela/VU University Amsterdam) and David González Álvarez (Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio/Durham University) were there. Representing the whole team, they presented a joint paper at the session “New Knowledge About Past Societies Through the Use of Advanced Remote Sensing Techniques”. This panel was organized by Ole Risbøl (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research), Lars Gustavsen (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research) and Hanna Stöger (Leiden University), and it aimed to assess the potential of remote sensing methods in Archaeology, gathering together papers from different chronologies and regional scopes. We participated in this session with the paper “Airborne LiDAR data for the study of Roman military presence in NW Iberia”, in which we tried to show our project and present the results of our work for discussion with other European colleagues.
As we have mentioned before, temporary Roman camps are archaeological sites characterized by the perishable nature of its structures: time erases the material remains of these sites. Moreover, regarding their temporary occupation, there are few material culture objects which would be associated to them. Thus, these sites are almost invisible on the surface. At least, they were so until the spread of remote sensing techniques in archaeological research. These tools –i.e. aerial imagery– were fundamental for the revigorating of Roman military Archaeology in Iberia during the last decade in the 20th century. But, in the last few years, new resources became available for delving into the study of the Roman military presence in NW Iberia. Our paper at the EAA dealt with those tools and methods, among which airbone LiDAR data specially stands out. We emphasized the limits and the potential of the methods and techniques used in our research. On this basis, the next task we face is to develop predictive models which could serve to locate unknown Roman camps in our study area, and deepening our research into the contextual study of these sites.
We still have so much work ahead us, but we are back from Vilnius with insightful ideas and new research questions. So, we trust you to join us on this journey, in which we shall soon reveal new stories.