Digital archaeologist wins national fellowship

Dr Andrea Jalandoni with remote sensing equipment in the field.

Digital archaeologist Dr Andrea Jalandoni has received fellowships from Griffith University and the Australian Academy of the Humanities that will support her pioneering fieldwork around the globe.

Dr Jalandoni with a remote pilot drone

Dr Jalandoni, a research fellow at Griffith Centre for Social Cultural Research, specialises in rock art recording and enhancement using a range of innovative techniques, from photogrammetry to laser scanning and drones.

She merges photogrammetry with laser scans of sites to create highly accurate 3D images. Dr Jalandoni is also developing new digital techniques that reveal details barely visible to the human eye.

A Griffith Postdoctoral Fellowship and Humanities Travelling Fellowship will enable her to continue fieldwork on archaeological sites in Guam and the Mariana Islands.

“The fellowships are a career milestone – it’s a very competitive process,” she said.

“I’m very lucky that my project is essentially COVID-proof. I have a lot of contacts in Micronesia, from local indigenous people to archaeologists, and the remote sensing technology I use means I can continue exploring sites in Guam from my office in Brisbane.”

Dr Jalandoni has been using a remote sensing technique called lidar (light detection and radar) to find new archaeological sites on Guam, uncovering evidence of the CHamoru people, who have lived on the Micronesian island for nearly 4,000 years.

Dr Jalandoni documenting rock art

She intends to use the same techniques to map Indigenous sites in Australia, working alongside Griffith University’s famed rock art researcher, Professor Paul Tacon.

“I think I have my dream job – I get to work with traditional owners in Australia, Maori elders in New Zealand and Indigenous communities across South East Asia and Micronesia,” she said.

“Here at Griffith we have one of the best rock art groups in the world, and I benefit hugely from the expertise of my colleagues.”

President of the Australian Humanities Academy, Professor Joy Damousi said it was important to invest in the next generation of Australia’s humanities community.

“This year has presented many challenges, with deep impacts felt throughout the humanities community and higher education in Australia,” she said.

“Most vulnerable to these developments and their aftermath are early career humanities researchers.

“Grants and awards programs, like ours and others, seek to provide much sought-after support to ensure Australia’s humanities research continues to thrive.”