Dr Ing. John Charles Betts graduated B. Mech. Eng. (Hon.s) from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Malta in 1991. In 2006 he graduated M.Sc. in Astronomy from Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria, Australia. In 2008 he obtained his Ph.D. in Engineering for his research on laser material deposition of ceramic-reinforced metal surfaces.
Dr. Betts worked as research engineer on remote sensing with the Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Insular Coastal Dynamics of the University of Malta for a period of two and a half years before becoming assistant lecturer with the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering of the University. He became lecturer in 2008 on attaining his doctorate degree, and has lectured on materials engineering, engineering ceramics, ceramics and glass in conservation and materials selection since 2001; since 2009 he has also participated in lectures on scientific techniques for Archaeology students. He became head of the department in April 2011 and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering in May 2011. His main research areas was laser deposition of metal powders and metal/ceramic blends. On completion of his term as Dean and Head of Department he transferred to the Department of Classics and Archaeology, where he participates in teaching and research as an engineer. His current research work is on the use of UAVs for remote sensing for archaeology and the characterization of archaeological materials. He is currently involved in the Low Altitude Remote Sensing Over Compact Sites (LARSOCS) project and the EU-funded MaltaPot postdoctoral project researching early Neolithic pottery found in the Maltese Islands.
Prior to his employment with University Dr. Betts was manager of the Steel Outfitting Dept at Malta Shipbuilding Co. Ltd for five years, and production engineer at Stainless Steel Products Ltd for three years.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in archaeology
Research work in progress: The Low Altitude Remote Sensing Over Compact Sites (LARSOCS) project uses Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for aerial imaging and recording of archaeological sites. The low budget project is now in its fourth year, and has been successful in supporting the documentation of sites used for Department fieldwork, as well as collaborations with Heritage Malta. https://www.um.edu.mt/arts/classics-archaeo/ourresearch/larsocs
MaltaPot is an EU funded research project which is now in its final stages. The project has supported a postdoctoral researcher working in the Department for two years. The aim of the research is to describe the fabric of early Neolithic pot sherds found in the Maltese Islands, categorize the different fabrics, and understand the materials and their provenance. https://www.um.edu.mt/research/maltapot