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Rachel  Opitz

Rachel Opitz

Rachel Opitz
Assistant Professor

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Office: SOC 014
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Personal Bio

"Dr. Rachel Opitz has an active research program focused on rural western Mediterranean societies and landscapes in the 1st millennium BCE. Her research investigates how different rural communities are operating within the increasingly interconnected Mediterranean world. The foundations of this work are in remote sensing and survey, human perception of the built and natural environment as studied through formal exercises in 3D modeling and analysis of visual attention of users of the models, and the material culture of rural communities and the towns emerging within them.

Her recognized methodological expertise includes photogrammetric modeling in the context of excavations, work primarily carried out at the Gabii Project – a major research excavation in central Italy, in LIDAR analysis of sites and landscapes, work primarily carried out through the LIEPPEC Project, a multi-method survey in the Forêt de Chailluz in the Franche-Comté, and in developing information metrics to ask new archaeological questions using 3D data. She is currently pursuing the application of perceptual saliency metrics for investigating the way humans visually perceive the basic elements of their surroundings, with important implications for the organization of space in built environments and the placement of structures and markers in landscapes.

She began her archaeological career in Europe, completing a PhD at Cambridge in 2009 and then working as a post-doctoral researcher in France (Besançon). She subsequently served as a research assistant at the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) and VAP in Anthropology at the University of Arkansas.

She currently serves as the chair of the Aerial Archaeology Research Group (2015-2018), a member of the ArchaeoLandscapes International Project General Management Board, and as the Director of SPARC.

Dr. Opitz is happy to supervise Masters and PhD candidates with interests in archaeological remote sensing, archaeological applications of 3D data, and landscape archaeology, particularly in a Mediterranean context. Interested students should send an email to ropitz@usf.edu."