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New Ways to See the Old Worlds

Exciting technological advances in the archaeological field are helping archaeologists uncover new details about ancient worlds, says Forbes magazine. James Newhard, director of archaeology at the College of Charleston, is one of many archaeologists using innovation to enhance his knowledge of ancient civilizations.

Newhard is in the midst of two archaeological projects, both of which require satellite imaging to contribute high-resolution photos and data to research.

One of these projects uses a new form of data analysis to study the oldest known form of Greek, found on clay tablets in the Palace of Nestor in Pylos. The second is the Avkat Project, which studies an ancient trade route in Turkey that connected Europe and the Eastern World.

To carry out this research, Newhard told reporter Michael O'Dwyer, new technologies are necessary. Satellite imaging is essential in identifying civilizations along this trade route, as is a high-power processing system, to analyze images and information. The archaeologists must also be proficient in specialized applications, such as ERMapper for image processing.

"You are either proficient in a range of software applications or you involve someone that is, as computer skills are necessary to analyze the data received," said Newhard.

As with all technology, problems can arise; the size of the information that is being processed might exceed the capacity of the system, or researchers might be unsure of how to best store their data.

Looking to the future, Newhard hopes that progress in satellite imaging will allow archaeologists to view a 3D image on an ancient civilization, and clearly visualize the past.

Enough excitment lies ahead for archaeologists that their work might actually begin to resemble that of their movie counterparts, such as Indiana Jones.

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