RS technique locates ancient burial sites

RS technique locates ancient burial sites

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Nagpur, India: Using remote sensing imagery in a unique way, a scientist at the Maharashtra Remote Sensing and Applications Centre (MRSAC), India, has located two burial sites of about 3000-3500 years back. Junapani, one of these megaliths (large stones), found 9 km far from the Nagpur city. Though, the site is known to the archaeologists, it has last been mentioned in the Nagpur Gazetteer in 1930. There is no mention of the settlement after that in the government’s toposheets.

“Remote sensing imageries are rarely used for studying archaeological sites. It is interesting that the satellite can pick up the exact number and location of the burials. In fact we can even locate other burials or any other archaeological site specifically through satellite images. It is emerging area in use of remote sensing technology,” said Sapna Deotale, an associate scientist at MRSAC who is studying the place as part of her doctorate degree. She presented her work at the “remote sensing day’ programme organised by MRSAC to mark Vikram Sarabhai’s birth anniversary.

Spread in an area of about 6-7 km, the megaliths can be of much historical importance and have potential of being converted into a heritage site. The megaliths were located using “quick bird” remote sensing satellite. Vinod Bothale, Director, MRSAC, said that the megaliths of Junapani like all burial sites in Nagpur and adjoining districts of Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Bhandara districts in Vidarbha are made of basalt rocks. Basalt being black the megaliths appears as small black rings on the satellite image. The Junapani burial site has about 100-125 megaliths. “This is one of the most unique uses of remote sensing imagery,” Bothale added.

Source: Times of India