Digging the new image: Archaeology from the air Jan 29, 2016 20:38:31 GMT
Post by UKarchaeology on Jan 29, 2016 20:38:31 GMT
The next generation of imaging techniques could be a game changer for archaeology. Jason Ford reports
Why would we preserve something if we can’t understand it? This question is being asked by Dr Chris Gaffney, an archaeologist whose work has helped to provide fresh insights into one of the world’s most intriguing archaeological sites.
Gaffney is head of Archaeological Sciences at Bradford University and part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project (SHLP), which last year announced the discovery of a major new prehistoric stone monument less than 3km from Stonehenge.
Using a combination of remote sensing and non-invasive geophysical prospection techniques, the project team found evidence for a row of up to 90 standing stones, a discovery that prompted one commentator to suggest that everything written about the Stonehenge landscape and ancient monuments within it be re-written.
“As archaeologists… we instantly turn towards the [Stonehenge] monument because we see that as the focal point in the landscape, which of course it is. But actually it’s the focal point of quite a complex landscape, and one that we now know is even more complex thanks to remote sensing.”
SHLP’s revelation that a large stone monument lay beneath the bank of the so-called Durrington Walls ‘super-henge’ was preceded in August 2015 with an announcement from the FBI that ‘industrial-level’ looting was taking place at archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq.
The FBI produced evidence of looting in the form of satellite imagery taken between 2011 and 2014 at three sites over Syria, a method of investigation used by Sarah Parcak, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama.
Like the FBI, Parcak has used repeatable, high-resolution satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 in a project to identify and quantify looting sites in Egypt following the overthrow of the nation’s government in 2011.
Full story: www.theengineer.co.uk/digging-the-new-image-archeology-from-the-air/