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Archaeology and Tech

Posted on March 22, 2006

Those who know me well (and those who have read the “about” page on this blog) know that I love archaeology and ancient civilizations. I especially enjoy advanced ancient civilizations. It amazes me to see the technology that was developed far before we would have expected it to emerge. I also get very excited about current technology and how it can help archaeologists in their search. I read an article yesterday on one of my favorite blogs about such a technology. No, its not brand new or super advanced, it’s actually satellite imagery.

As many of you may or may not know, a lot of the worlds untapped archaeological resources lie around what one was known as Mesopotamia and is now known as the Middle East (roughly speaking). In fact, a lot of potential dig sites are in the war torn regions of Iraq making it virtually impossible for archaeologists to dig there. This fact lead a Harvard anthropologist to think outside the box when trying to explore the canals at Nineveh, a 3,000 year old Mesopotamian village lying near the turbulent modern city of Mosul, Iraq. He used satellite imagery to virtually explore the ruins. Through this virtual exploration he was able to gain insight into how the ancient people of Nineveh used irrigation to support agriculture.

The interesting thing about the use of satellite technology in archaeology is that we can all be armchair archaeologists simply by utilizing Google Earth. In fact, an Egyptian crater recently found by a scientist using satellite imagery was also spotted by a handful of people using Google Earth. I know I am going to be using Google Earth a lot more to search ancient Mesopotamia and my favorite of all ancient civilizations, Egypt. Who knows, maybe I will discover an anomaly that may just be the next big find and all from the comfort of my apartment. I love technology!

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  1. Matt March 23, 2006 10:49 am

    Eric, great info. I love seeing new finds through remote sensing. I recently posted about a fun game where folks post google earth images of archaeology sites for others to find its whereabouts. Although, not new discoveries, it gets people looking!
    http://crmgis.blogspot.com/2006/03/fun-with-google-earth-and-archaeology.html

    ~Matt