Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Remote Sensing Archaeology

I've long thought that geophysics and related sciences have more to offer archaeologists than the occasional magnetic survey or resistivity map. How satellite photography and other remote sensing technologies are being used to find significant archaeological sites worthy of further investigation. So much so, in fact, that some archaeologists are using Google Earth to search for sites. By the way, if you've never played with Google Earth you really should!

Cosmos Magazine has this article on the subject of satellite imagery and GE archaeology.

How long before someone uses high resolution imagery of territories that were covered by rising sea levels after the last Ice Age to find a significant city-level settlement?

I suggest looking around the coasts of the Mediterranean, and Northern Indian ocean! I'd put money on a site around the scale Çatalhöyük (in Anatolia, Turkey, and at wikipedia) - a 'city' thought to have had around 10,000 inhabitants up to 7,500 years ago. Since the last Ice Age was at it's maximum around 20,000 years ago, and ended roughly 12,000 years ago, and Homo Sapiens has lived on the planet for some 150,000 - 200,000 years, I think there are bound to be flooded settlements in shallow marine contexts. It's just a matter of finding the right form of satellite image.

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