National Science Foundation funds Willamette students to conduct research in Greece

Contact: Cate R Caldwell

Professor Scott Pike will lead three cohorts of students to carry out drone reconnaissance abroad.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has funded three cohorts of four undergraduate students per year to conduct innovative UAS (drone) and field reconnaissance projects to improve the understanding of marble use and extraction in ancient Greece. Professor of Environmental Science and Archaeology Scott Pike will serve as the principal investigator and lead the six-week summer research experiences abroad, which will take place 2022–2024.

Student researchers will work under the auspices of the Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and will be mentored by the lab’s director, Dr. Panagiotis Karkanas. Through active engagement with rapidly advancing aerial-based field research, IRES participants will produce valuable knowledge in the geoarchaeology of Greek marbles in addition to developing novel applications and workflow methodologies in the rapidly advancing field of UAS-based data acquisition, processing and interpretation. Participants will gain valuable experience working with foreign collaborators, using state-of-the-art aerial sensors, producing spatial models in GIS and photogrammetry software and developing skills to communicate their research to a broad and interdisciplinary audience.

“IRES students will benefit greatly from their international experiences, particularly those students who traditionally have been underrepresented in field-based research training and careers,” says Pike. Through presentations at regional, national and international venues, IRES participants will gain a greater understanding of not just Greek geoarchaeology, but of the potential for UAS-based research. The IRES program will build student confidence, and through the program’s focus on skills development and career planning, participants’ intellectual and personal development experienced during and after the program is likely to have positive long-term career impacts.

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