Old, meet new: Drones, high-tech camera revamp archaeology

In this Nov. 14, 2017 photo, Dartmouth's Chad Hill studies a screen showing data collected by a drone at a the site of a Shaker Village in Enfield, N.H. Hill and Jesse Casana are using drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras to study a half-dozen archaeological sites around the world. The cameras use the heat differences between stone and the soil surrounding it to identify structures below the surface, which then can be further explored. (AP Photo/Michael Casey)

ENFIELD, N.H. - Scientists from Dartmouth College are turning to several high-tech tools that could help their fellow archaeologists make discoveries by speeding up the search for ancient structures beneath the surface.

For the past several years, Jesse Casana and his colleagues have been flying drones equipped with a thermal imaging camera over a dozen sites from New Hampshire to Cyprus. The equipment uses heat to differentiate stone and brick structures from surrounding soil.

Their first big break came in 2014 when they identified a dozen ancient housing compounds beneath the soil at a Pueblo settlement in Blue J, New Mexico.

Since then, they have identified outlines of structures around an Islamic fort in Qatar and several structures and traces of historic buildings and pathways at a Shaker Village in Enfield, New Hampshire.


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