Saturday, September 17, 2005

Armchair Archaeology

Archaeologists have long used aerial surveys to find and map long lost buildings and settlements. Often the only clues are as subtle as differences in the color of the local vegetation.

The recent availabily of good satellite and other aerial images from Google Maps (and Google Earth) has allowed an amateur to discover a previously unknown ancient villa near his hometown in Italy.

His eye was caught by unusual 'rectangular shadows' nearby. Curious, he analysed the image further, and concluded that the lines must represent a buried structure of human origin. Eventually, he traced out what looked like the inner courtyards of a villa.

Now anyone can be an archaeologist!

(The discoverer, Luca Mori, apparently reported this in his blog. It is linked in the Nature article, but is not currently available - maybe due to too much traffic?)

(See the BBC article on Aerial Archaelogy for more information on this technique).

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