PaleoWest Archaeology

The PaleoWay

Innovation and Technology

PaleoWest Archaeology has remained at the forefront of technical innovation in cultural resource management by keeping up with trends from the world’s industries. Our highly skilled technical staff have produced client deliverables using virtual and augmented realities, photogrammetric renderings of archaeological features, 3D models of artifacts sites and landscapes, 3D printed materials, and aerial mapping. Our teams are leading the way in archaeology, employing a customized database system and carefully selected suite of applications that fieldworkers carry on smartphones and tablets. Photos, forms, and locational data are managed in central databases, where staff in the field and office can work together on data sets using applications with simple and intuitive user interfaces. The database instantly generates agency-specific forms and reporting documents for final delivery to our clients.

  • Deliverables

    • Augmented and Virtual Reality

    • 3D Models of Features, Excavations, Sites, and Landscapes

    • Aerial Mapping – Digital Elevation Models and Orthophotography

    • Enhanced Feature Mapping – photogrammetric augmented mapping

    • Enhanced Artifact Illustration

    • 3D Printed Features and Artifacts

  • Workflow and Dataflow

    • Streamlined Site Recordation

    • Reduced Mapping Time with Increased Detail and Accuracy


The PaleoWay


PaleoWest was the first to design and deploy fully customized databases into the field using iDevices on a company-wide, national scale. This in-house development has set the trajectory for PaleoWest to integrate the newest technologies into our daily workflow in the field and office. We call this digital workflow the PaleoWay. Digital data collection has transformed cultural resource reporting, it includes various field mapping applications, relational database input and processing, and photography. The PaleoWay system streamlines data collection, eliminates re-work and error, and produces report-ready data from the start, significantly reducing report preparation, production, and post-production times.

  • Reduction in time and personnel to Record Sites

  • Reduction in field form post-processing

  • Reduction in transcription errors

  • Digital workflows for cultural and natural resources management, as realized by PaleoWest Archaeology.

Technology in Action


PaleoWest utilizes a fleet of drones to collect data for site mapping through production of orthophotos, digital terrain models, and digital elevation models; builds 3D models of buildings, objects, and structures; maps landscapes and landforms; oblique photography; aerial videography; and infrared photography.  Recent projects range in size from less than 5 acres to more than 500 acres and are both linear and rectangular.  PaleoWest has successfully marketed its aerial mapping program to clients as a means of efficiently mapping large areas producing high quality site maps.  These products have been successfully used as contributing elements to mitigation measures and sampling strategies of cultural resources and resource landscapes accepted by SHPO and federal agencies.  Aerial mapping is also actively used as alternative mitigation measures. Additionally, we are breaking ground in the expanded and innovative use of subsurface remote sensing techniques to enhance our non-destructive approaches within our existing services.

Aerial Mapping

  • Quadcopter and Fixed Wing for rectangular and linear project

  • Digital Elevation, Hillshade, Hydrology, and Contour Models

  • Orthorectified Aerial Photography, Oblique and Nadir Aerial Photography, Aerial Videography

  • Site Overview, Structure Mapping, Landscape Studies

  • Landscape Change and Site Condition Monitoring

  • Alternative Mitigation

3D Modeling and Photogrammetric Mapping

PaleoWest has pioneered the use of photogrammetry (the use of digital photography for mapping) and 3D modeling to provide both standalone work products and enhance the efficiency and quality of traditional archaeological work.  PaleoWest uses low altitude aerial mapping and imaging to produce survey-grade 3D models of landscapes, sites, and architecture. Using cameras mounted on poles, tripods, kites, and aerial drones, PaleoWest's standard procedure has been upgraded to photogrammetrically map features, sites, and landscapes during inventory and excavation projects. This creates a rich, immersive record in three dimensions that is superior to traditional photographic and hand-drawn maps. Similarly, creating digital models of artifacts is vastly superior to traditional recording techniques such as photography and illustration, as it renders the object fully in three dimensions, and with bias-free color, design, and textural detail.  As seen below, it is a particularly apt way to render a digital record of objects before curation or repatriation.

  • Reduction in feature mapping field time

  • Increased feature mapping accuracy

  • Increased detail in plans and cross sections

  • Centimeter scale elevation

  • 3D printing

  • Computational artifact analysis