In this episode of Future Lens our hosts Gord Stencell and Mark Pundzius discuss the future of archaeology and how we’ve changed the way we discover the secrets of the past, how we preserve them, and how we share them.
Drones help to discover skeletons in the Canary Islands
In an off-ground cave in the Valley of Guayadequeon, a group of amateur archaeologists laid claim to uncovering 72 mummies from the prehistoric Guanche civilization, while on vacation. Given that the cave entrance was 23 feet off the ground, they conceded that it would have been an unlikely find, without having the use of drone technology available to assist them.
Almost as exciting as x-ray vision
Lidar is fast becoming one of the most influential tools for archaeologists. Lidar detects the distance to objects and surfaces by bouncing lasers off of them. It can produce a detailed heightmap of the landscape by seeing through the canopy to find and record the level of the ground beneath. What would have previously required months of manual measurements and hacking away at the jungle with machetes, can now be revealed through Lidar detection in a matter of a few hours.
A Dead Sea Scroll is found to have valuable hidden text
An international team of scientists developed a method for "virtually unrolling" a badly damaged ancient scroll found on the western shore of the Dead Sea. The process of “virtual unwrapping” reveals writing on hidden untouchable parts of disintegrating documents. Proof positive that experts can potentially recover whole texts from managed material, not just a few letters or speculative words.
A different kind of laser show
Laser cleaning is a non-contact media-free process that proves very successful in removing firmly attached dirt and soot from fragile surfaces. Using a portable handheld laser system, ornate wall paintings can be cleaned and seen as they once were 3,000 years ago.