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Publication Title | New Perspectives for UAV-Based Modelling the Roman Gold Mining Infrastructure in NW Spain

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minerals
Article
New Perspectives for UAV-Based Modelling the Roman Gold Mining Infrastructure in NW Spain
Javier Fernández-Lozano 1,* , Alberto González-Díez 1 , Gabriel Gutiérrez-Alonso 2,3 , Rosa M. Carrasco 4, Javier Pedraza 5, Jacinta García-Talegón 2, Gaspar Alonso-Gavilán 2, Juan Remondo 1 , Jaime Bonachea 1 and Mario Morellón 1
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Department of Earth Sciences and Physics of the Condensed Matter, Faculty of Sciences, University of Cantabria, Avenida de los Castros s/n, 39007 Santander, Spain; gonzalea@unican.es (A.G.-D.); juan.remondo@unican.es (J.R.); jaime.bonachea@unican.es (J.B.); mario.morellon@unican.es (M.M.) Department of Geology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Salamanca, Plaza de la Merced s/n,
38007 Salamanca, Spain; gabi@usal.es (G.G.-A.); talegon@usal.es (J.G.-T.); gavilan@usal.es (G.A.-G.) Geology and Geography Department, Tomsk State University, Lenin Street, 36, Tomsk 634050, Russia Department of Geological Engineering and Mining, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Biochemistry, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Avenida Carlos III s/n, 45071 Toledo, Spain; rosa.carrasco@uclm.es Department of Geodynamics, Stratigraphy and Paleontology, Faculty of Geological Science, Complutense University of Madrid, C/José Antonio Novais, 12, 28040 Madrid, Spain; javierp@ucm.es
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* Correspondence: j.fernandezlozano@unican.es; Tel.: +34-942-201-512
Received: 5 September 2018; Accepted: 6 November 2018; Published: 9 November 2018
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Abstract: This contribution discusses the potential of UAV-assisted (unmanned aerial vehicles) photogrammetry for the study and preservation of mining heritage sites using the example of Roman gold mining infrastructure in northwestern Spain. The study area represents the largest gold area in Roman times and comprises 7 mining elements of interest that characterize the most representative examples of such ancient works. UAV technology provides a non-invasive procedure valuable for the acquisition of digital information in remote, difficult to access areas or under the risk of destruction. The proposed approach is a cost-effective, robust and rapid method for image processing in remote areas were no traditional surveying technologies are available. It is based on a combination of data provided by aerial orthoimage and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to improve the accuracy of UAV derived data. The results provide high-resolution orthomosaic, DEMs and 3D textured models that aim for the documentation of ancient mining scenarios, providing high-resolution digital information that improves the identification, description and interpretation of mining elements such as the hydraulic infrastructure, the presence of open-cast mines which exemplifies the different exploitation methods, and settlements. However, beyond the scientific and technical information provided by the data, the 3D documentation of ancient mining scenarios is a powerful tool for an effective and wider public diffusion ensuring the visualization, preservation and awareness over the importance and conservation of world mining heritage sites.
Keywords: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV); Roman gold mining; photogrammetry; mining; geoheritage
1. Introduction
Gold has extraordinary physical-chemical properties and represents one of the scarcest elements in nature. Average abundances in the Earth’s crust vary from 0.001 to 0.006 ppm (g/t) [1]. The extremely bright and intense yellow color, together with its wide ductility makes gold a coveted mineral since antiquity [2]. The world’s oldest gold manufactured objects, found in the Necropolis of Varna (Bulgaria) and dating back from the VI millennium BC, represents the earliest attempts of gold metallurgy [3]. Since then, gold acquired an increasing relevance in ancient southern Europe cultures [4]. Gold has
Minerals 2018, 8, 518; doi:10.3390/min8110518 www.mdpi.com/journal/minerals

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