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Archaeologists with Drones Discover Pre-Columbian Earthworks in Kansas


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Newly discovered earthwork and a few possible houses are marked on an aerial image of the site.

Researchers at Dartmouth College discovered pre-Columbian earthworks in Kansas using drones equipped with LiDAR and infrared and thermal imaging.

Credit: ars technica

Dartmouth College archaeologist Jesse Casana and colleagues have discovered pre-Columbian earthworks in Kansas using drones equipped with LiDAR and infrared and thermal imaging.

When flying over a cattle ranch, a 3DR Solo quadcopter detected otherwise invisible ditches with thermal imaging cameras, suggesting the presence of ancient "council circles." During night flights, the drone's sensors measured heat radiating from soil, instead of being reflected off the ground in the daytime.

According to Dartmouth’s Jesse Casana and her colleagues, "Our discovery ... serves as a powerful reminder that many archaeological features are likely preserved in the modern landscape that can only be recognized by employing appropriate technologies at large spatial scales."

From Ars Technica
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