Photogrammetry for Archaeology Masterclass

photogrammetry masterclassLearn to take perfect photos of historic ruins and ancient artefacts… and turn them into 3D models!

From Neolithic monuments to yesterday’s news, photography is one of the most compelling records of our world.

In fact, photography is a vital part of the archaeological recording process and skillful digital photography on the ground and from the air are all integral to the field archaeologists’ skill set (yes – there’ll be some drones involved!).

But it doesn’t stop with photographs – things are moving on. You may have seen Project Mosul bringing artworks destroyed by IS back to life in 3D. This ability to create accurate 3D models from 2D photographs using photogrammetry is the next step for archaeologists, archaeology-lovers and photography enthusiasts alike.

Whether you want to learn all this just for fun, to contribute to an archaeology, heritage or cultural project, or to use on professional excavations in the UK,  this masterclass  led by one of the UK’s foremost archaeological photographers, will teach you the essential skills and techniques you need to take your photography skills to the next level. Or should that be to the next dimension??

What will I learn?

Group shot

Students out photographing medieval ruins before learning how to turn them into 3D models.

This is a group training course that will take you from basic skills to advanced knowledge. Don’t forget – a reminder of the basics is always a rewarding exercise, even for the most knowledgeable!

Tuition will be based around interactive discussions, demonstrations, and practical tasks and will include:

  • The fundamentals of how a camera works
  • How to achieve professional archival and recording standards for archaeology
  • How to photograph different types of archaeological evidence, from architectural features to tiny artefacts
  • Special lighting techniques for fine detail and hard-to-see evidence, including inscriptions, rock-art, small finds and strong contrast situations
  • Aerial photography! How to use drones, aircraft and other methods to photograph buildings and landscapes
  • What photogrammetry is, how to prep your photos and turn them into 3D models
  • And finally… some guidance on copyright matters (i.e., how not to annoy museum curators!)

Who will be teaching me?

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 15.34.25Adam Stanford (aka ‘Aerial-Cam’) MCIfA, RPQ-s, is a one of the UK’s leading archaeology photographers.

He specialises in low-level aerial photography, photogrammetry, the use of telescopic masts and kites, and has pioneered the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for archaeology.

He has worked on high profile sites around the world, from Stonehenge to Rapa Nui. Adam’s approach to heritage sites involves a mix of traditional photography and advanced software processes for data analysis.

His work has been key to revolutionising standard archaeological recording practice. (view Adam’s portfolio).

Bonus! A Virtual Tour of Easter Island

Rapa Nui Easter Island AerialCam

After the masterclass, you are invited to stay on for an evening ‘lecture’. This highly informal event will take you on a virtual archaeology safari of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the south Pacific, with images and data that Adam has gathered and put together over three seasons of fieldwork on Rapa Nui – about as close as you can get to Easter Island without actually leaving your chair! Plus, we’ll take a quick look at the results of 3D work at Leiston Abbey.

The Schedule


Thursday 23 July, 1:00pm – 5:00pm.

Attendees are invited to stay on for the virtual tour of Easter Island at 6:30pm and dinner at 8:00pm.

How much?

£85 per person, or £65 if you are already signed up as a Digital Dig Team member. Don’t forget, contributions go towards the archaeology work and conservation of Leiston Abbey.


More info:

Please arrive at the DigVentures Site Office at the gorgeous medieval ruins of Leiston Abbey no later than 12:30pm for a short orientation, where you will learn more about the site and the specific activities of the class.

Tuition will finish at 5:00pm, after which you can carry on working or meet up with our thirsty field shool diggers in the Wattle & Daub, our on-site pop-up pub.

Adam’s evening lecture, ‘Easter Island: An Archaeology Safari‘ will begin at 6:30, and will be followed by dinner at 8:00pm. Both of these activities are optional, but we do hope you will stay on to get the full on-site experience.


Adam and his latest Remotely Piloted Aircraft System. Yes you’ll get a demo. No you don’t have to bring your own!

What equipment do I need?

It’s not essential, but if you have a camera bring it along with the manual (if you can find it!). Tripods are also helpful, but don’t buy one just for this class. Equipment advice can also be provided.

Can I stay overnight?

The course is a half-day, but we appreciate that many of you probably want to stay over and travel home on Friday.

The good news is, you are welcome to camp on site with us among Leiston Abbey’s medieval ruins. The site had all facilities, including showers, loos and laundry – and even a billiard table! Space is limited so please let us know if you intend to stay over – there’s an additional £10.

What about dinner?

Dinner is included if you are staying overnight, but please let us know when you book! Dinner is served in the old barn, and the food is delicious! There will be vegetarian options and plenty of fruit and veg, but please note that this is a fieldschool, not a restaurant! If there’s anything you really can’t live without, please bring it along.

Don’t camp?

Not problem – we’re just three miles from the Suffolk coast and the lovely seaside towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold. There are plenty of holiday camps nearby, as well as hotels and B&Bs in the area.

Want more info? Click here for FAQs about the site location!

*If you’re very particular, have allergies or certain foods you can’t live without, please bring these along.

* You must be 17years or older to participate.

*If you are already a Venturer, give us a ring on 0333 011 3990 or send an email to for instructions on how to book your discounted rate.


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Written by DigVentures

Fascinated by archaeology? DigVentures runs excavations that anyone can be part of. From Roman ruins and medieval castles, to Bronze Age monuments and industrial heritage, you can choose to dig alongside our team, help out in the Finds Room, take an online course, or become a Subscriber for even more ways to enjoy archaeology with our team.

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