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Review: Archeology – exploring the past with modern technology

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Syeda Laiba Tayyab
Syeda Laiba Tayyabhttps://scientiamag.org
Laiba is a Biochemist (MS) from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Being a movie enthusiast, she's been reviewing science-related movies and documentaries. She has been a part of our team since the founding days of Scientia.

Archeologists strive to extract the historical treasures and make sense of their use in the past. The Earth is full of artifacts, utensils, tools, etc. which link us to the cultures that existed before us. 

The new technology nowadays is making the life of the living ever so effortless. But it has been working lately to uncover the mysteries of the dead too. The documentary film Archeology 2.0 – Exploring the past with modern technology, directed by Susanne Brahms is a look into the work of the recent researchers and how they are using innovative methods to study the past. Archeology 2.0 uncovers the secrets and gives us a new way to investigate history.

The piece documents archeologists at Dublin who have found a series of underground tombs whose construction dates back to thousands of years ago. These shrines were detected using an apparatus having highly sensitive magnetic sensors on one end and wheels on the other. This wheeled equipment was strolled along the ground and the magnetic waves produced were recorded. The tool covered a lot of ground with ease. The measurement showed the evidence of life lying deep down in the ground.

Underground shrines were detected using an apparatus having highly sensitive magnetic sensors. Credit: DW

 With the dawn of 3D imaging, the experience of gaming has completely changed. This art of virtual reality is not only used in games but to study ancient treasures too. In Berlin, archeologists have teamed up with game designers to form a virtual reality of the antiques buried in the ground. This lets the researchers examine various dimensions, decipher the dead languages, and helps preserve the history in the shape it was found.

The same technology of 3D imaging was utilized to uncover a ship submerged in the Baltic Sea of the 14th-century era. The images were so high in quality that when they were recreated on the surface revealed the shipwrecks and damage to the ship due to pollutants that were not detected by the naked eye.

Past uncovered with 3D imaging.
3D imaging was utilized to uncover a ship submerged in the Baltic Sea of the 14th-century era. Credit: DW

World-famous Alhambra Dome present in Berlin’s Museum remains unnoticed, but luckily the digital world came to the rescue. A group of researchers is taking 3D images of the dome and preserving it in digital form. The site where this dome is placed is not receiving light, so one cannot appreciate its intricacies. One added advantage of this feat is that by 3D imaging, better visualization of this dome is possible. This virtual reality experience can allow people to access this site via the internet as well. 

Another form of technology used these days is aerial archaeology. In this technique, drones are used. Lidar scans, laser beams using ground-penetrating radars were utilized. This helped reveal the long-forgotten Celtic Prince’s grave along with his priceless headgear. 

Aerial Archeology is a new form of technology. Credit: DW

In this era, the archeologists do not have to rely on conventional methods of digging, using pickaxe, shovels, and dusters. These invasive techniques are also responsible for corrupting the genuine form of the artifacts. In this day and age, archeologists can unlock the mysteries of the past by using state-of-the-art technology. 

This documentary film explains some of the few technological advancements. That includes magnetic sensors, virtual gaming technology, 3D imaging, and aerial archaeology, and many more can be used to recreate and preserve historical artifacts in a new and better way. The archeologists can take help from these tools but still has to do fieldwork too.

I recommend watching this documentary as it is enlightening, along with entertaining. It gives us an insight into how modern-day technology is helping to unveil the mysteries of our past. 

You can watch the documentary here.

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