ILLUSTRATION BY 7REASONS MEDIEN GMBH
By Katharine Gammon
It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes archaeologists can learn more bynot digging up the past. In fact, noninvasive methods—including lasers, ground-penetrating radar, and drone photography—are changing the way they do their work.
One of the latest examples: a project at Ammaia, in southern Portugal, where researchers have been able to create detailed, three-dimensional illustrations of a now-underground Roman village in its heyday.
Data from the site show that the town flourished in the first century A.D.—at its peak it was home to more than 2,000 inhabitants—but gradually declined in the fourth century. By the Middle Ages it was abandoned.
Using a variety of noninvasive techniques, an international team ofresearchers has been able to identify different phases of the town’s construction, from Augustan times onward.
The result? A first-of-its-kind video of what a walk through the town would have looked like, stitched together via different kinds of data.
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