Monday, January 14, 2008

Using Google Earth to discover archaeological sites

An excellent tool for archaeologists is aerial survey photography which can be used to reveal the outlines of buried ancient sites much easier than a ground-based observer would be able to. Until the advent of Google Earth access to this kind of imagery was difficult and expensive but now of course anyone can view it for free (well anyone with a decent computer and internet connection anyway). Archaeologists are now using Google Earth to look for previously unknown archaeological sites.

Archaeologist Scott Madry used Google Earth to search for the Celtic Aedui in Burgundy, France. He found 101 possible sites, though he did know where to look and what to look for. The first person to discover ancient ruins however was probably Luca Mori who was looking at his own home in GE when he discovered some unusual shading nearby. He contacted local archaeologists who investigated and found it was the remains of a Roman villa!

References :

"Web lets UNC prof do armchair archaeology" - News & Observer
"Internet maps reveal Roman villa" - BBC News

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