Archaeologists to survey ancient cities with satellite images

Archaeologists to survey ancient cities with satellite images

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The Oriental Institute’s CAMEL computer project can traverse vast distances of ancient and modern space without pausing for digging in the soil. CAMEL (the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes) is at the leading edge of archaeology because of what it does not do and what it can do. First, it does not actually excavate. For a science based on the destructive removal of buried artifacts and an examination of them for meaning, CAMEL works in quite the opposite way: it aims to survey ancient sites and disturb them as little as possible.

What CAMEL can do however, is remarkable. It organizes maps, aerial photography, satellite images and other data into one place, allowing archaeologists to see how ancient trade routes developed and to prepare simulations of how people may have interacted, given the limitations of their space, the availability of resources and the organization of their cities.