Archeology 2.0

2017, Science  -  42 min Leave a Comment
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Archeology 2.0 explores the means by which modern technologies are helping us to uncover the secrets of our past like never before.

Northwest of Dublin, archeologists examine a series of tombs that were first constructed thousands of years ago. Valuable evidence of this ancient life lies deep underground. Using a wheeled apparatus adorned with highly sensitive magnetic sensors, these explorers can cover a lot of ground, record valuable geometric measurements and detect these buried treasures with pinpoint accuracy.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, archeologists work alongside virtual reality game designers to step through three-dimensional replications of underground sites. From here, they can better understand spatial dimensions, decode ancient languages and hieroglyphics, and preserve a model of history for future generations.

In the Baltic Sea, researchers have uncovered a submerged merchant ship from the 14th century. Using 3D cameras, they can capture high-resolution imagery from this and other ancient shipwrecks in the area. Unfettered by underwater pollutants - the kind that obscure human sight - these images allow them to reconstruct these once glorious vessels with unparalleled detail and clarity.

Aerial archeology is also carried out digitally. Drones help researchers locate the grave of a Celtic prince and the priceless headgear and jewels that adorn his remains. Small commuter airplanes perform lidar scans using laser beams. These ground penetrating radars unveil burial sites and other structures that have long evaded discovery.

It's a brave new world for archeologists. No longer are they limited to handheld dusters, shovels and pick axes. Technology helps them unlock the mysteries that might lie right under their feet, and makes their examination of ancient sites and artifacts more efficient and revealing.

Technology has not only rendered the process of archeology more fruitful. It also helped to make it more democratic. These images and 3D models can be shared with the masses through the internet, allowing the lessons of our past to resound far beyond the confines of an archeologist's laboratory.

Swift, entertaining and enlightening, Archeology 2.0 celebrates living history, our evolving interactions with it, and what it might reveal about who we are and where we came from. It's a fascinating take on how our present and future informs our understanding of the past.

Directed by: Susanne Brahms