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Value of Aerial Photography in Surveying Archaeological Sites in Coastal Jungle Regions

  • Ray T. Matheny (a1)


Heavy jungle growth prevented economical surveying of Aguacatal (Campeche, Mexico) and the adjacent area despite the efforts of two brief seasons in the field. Aerial photography was used to supplement and expeditiously complete the ground survey work. The operation was inexpensive and utilized readily available equipment such as the K-20 aerial camera. Super-XX, infrared, and color films were used on an experimental basis to determine which film was best suited for archaeologic purposes. All films were found to have special values: Super-XX — the best general film for gray tonal renditions of vegetal differentiation; infrared — for the delineation of wet areas and water courses; and color — for the maximum readability of color differences. Photographic interpretation proved reliable and allowed the archaeologist to extract topographic, ecologic, and archaeologica data from the photographs with little laboratory study.



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