MOSCOW, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- European archaeologists say a tiny remote-control drone is helping them capture images to construct a 3-D model of ancient burial mounds in Russia.
It can be difficult to reach and map sites in remote and rugged areas, given limited budgets archaeologists often have to work with, and the small, inexpensive drones offer another tool in the research arsenal, LiveScience.com reported Friday.
In the Tuekta region of Russia scientists are using a battery-powered four-propeller "quadrocopter" to hover a camera over burial mounds said to be 2,300 to 2,800 years old and as much as 250 feet wide.
"There are a lot possibilities with this method," researcher Marijn Hendrickx, a geographer at the University of Ghent in Belgium, said of the 35-ounce, 27-inch helicopter drones.
The mounds, called "kurgans," located in the Altai Mountains where Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia come together, probably are tombs of chiefs or princes of the Scythians, a nomadic people known for their horsemanship who once had a rich, powerful empire, researchers said.