Thursday, December 17, 2009

Australian Archaeologists Use Google Earth to Map Sites -- and Suggest Info Could Help With Site Protection Efforts

This is a potentially important project. Money quote at the end:
"The most important aspect of the work is that we'll be able to go to the Afghan archaeological institute and say these are the sites in this area, if you've got guys down there you can either go and visit them or you can at least start thinking about trying to protect them," Thomas said.
One hopes that the coalition forces are also going to be contacted, so that if any are operating in these areas they can at least avoid damage to sites where possible. And it would seem reasonable to try to build on the work already done by developing ways to use Google Earth to monitor a large number sites over time; it seems hard to believe that some sort of automated program could be devised to register whether holes are appearing. It would make little sense for the Afghan antiquities board -- or whoever is in charge of site policing -- to devote scarce resources to the dangerous work of protecting sites if they are not under threat while others are.

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