Spy satellite images reveal Middle Eastern archaelogical sites
May 3, 2014 1:52 PM   Subscribe

 
Here's a link which doesn't require registration.
posted by homunculus at 5:49 PM on May 3, 2014


Also, you can just skip the registration and view the article, too.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:40 PM on May 3, 2014


Huh, I could have sworn it sent me to the homepage when I tried to skip it earlier. My brain has abandoned me today.
posted by homunculus at 6:57 PM on May 3, 2014


The entire dataset spans 1964-1980 and covers US and other countries, too. You can see thumbnails on USGS EarthExplorer, but actually getting the data is $30 a piece behind a paywall. USGS, what's stopping us from getting these images online?
posted by crapmatic at 8:32 PM on May 3, 2014


I saw Jesse Casana When he came to Spokane to talk about this project for our chapter of the American Institute of Archeology. It is an amazing bit of science. Forgotten negatives from Cold War satellites, computer correction, knowing where to look--and boom! Rock walls of farms of retired Roman centurions! Ancient seaports! One archeological site after another that would not have been found otherwise.

And that is the problem. Looting is a huge business in the Middle East. Looter do have the internet. And they will get to most of these sites first. This project will lead to new era in pillaging.

In the question period I asked if he hadn't created the Looters Handbook. He said he gets that a lot, but no. It was not a good answer.
posted by LarryC at 11:24 PM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


There's a complementary brief piece on the history of using aerial equipment/technology in archaeology by Mary Beard that's been going around. It is both wonderful and terrifying to have that kind of data, in part because of just how useful they are for looters, as noted above. Not considering that or at least discussing looting and the ramifications of material like this seems...naive?
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:54 AM on May 4, 2014


> Looting is a huge business in the Middle East. Looter do have the internet. And they will get to most of these sites first. This project will lead to new era in pillaging.

That was my first thought, and I was shocked not to see it even mentioned in the article.

> Not considering that or at least discussing looting and the ramifications of material like this seems...naive?

Criminally naive, if you ask me. By the time actual archeologists go near most of these sites, they will have been destroyed. Thanks, Corona!
posted by languagehat at 2:31 PM on May 4, 2014


IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!
posted by stenseng at 4:26 PM on May 5, 2014


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