Technology is rapidly changing how we see and understand the truth about our ancient past. Soon, gone are the days were a case for history is made up from a single bone or single tooth found. Today is changing thanks to the technologies of the future and here are a few of the amazing tools rewriting history as we know it:
Documentary Maker Noel Murphy has been travelling through time to discover how futuristic technologies are reaching deeper into our past than ever before and redefining our understanding of history and archaeology.
This weekend, Documentary on Newstalk joins Noel as he meets the people working with these new technologies. The documentary begins at the Discovery Programme, Irelands leading archaeological research institution based in Dublin. In this somewhat antiquated building, Dr. Edel Breathnach and her team are using cutting edge technologies to record monuments in astonishing 3D detail using lazer surveying technology.
Noel travels to Killarney in search of archaeological treasure, meeting there with Gary Devlin from the Discovery Programme and Dr.Nora White of the School of Celtic Studies. But mysteriously they’ve arranged to meet him after dark at an old church ruins to look at an ancient Ogham stone. Their nocturnal adventure results in the recording of this stone in minutest detail for all eternity and for all the world to see, creating better opportunities to decipher its linguistics. Next to Queens University Belfast, to see technology that can reach back 50,000 years. Here Professor Paula J.Reimer demonstrates how advanced equipment shooting particles at 0.3% of the speed of light can give us information from our past to help us with our future. (Click top link to read full story)
Built more than 4,500 years ago, during Egypt’s 4th Dynasty of pharaohs, the pyramids at Giza are some of the most celebrated manmade monuments in history. Yet no one really knows how these magnificent ancient structures were built, on such a massive scale, in a relatively short period of time. The recently launched Operation Scan the Pyramids project aims to probe this enduring mystery by using high-tech but non-invasive methods to examine the pyramids. Using one of these methods—infrared thermography—an international team of scientists and architects recently detected a mysterious thermal anomaly, or hot spot, on the eastern wall of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which may hint at some kind of passageway or chamber inside.
In recent months, experts have been searching for hidden chambers located within the Egyptian pyramids, as well as for additional insight into how these amazing structures could have been built. Organized by the Faculty of Engineering of Cairo and the Paris-based Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute, the Operation Scan the Pyramids project aims to conduct in-depth examinations of the pyramids using non-invasive methods such as thermal imaging and muon radiography, a Japanese technique that has been used to peek inside active volcanoes as well as the nuclear reactors of Fukushima.
Last week, an initial infrared temperature scan of the famous tomb belonging to the pharaoh Tutankhamen, better known as King Tut, turned up promising results: a temperature difference in the tomb’s northern wall, which may indicate a hidden cavity behind the wall’s surface. Their work follows up on claims made earlier this year by Egyptologist Nicholas Reeve of the University of Arizona, who proposed that ultra high-resolution images of Tut’s tomb showed hidden doorways leading to previously unexplored burial chambers, possibly including the final resting place of the legendary Queen Nefertiti, who was married to Tut’s father. (click link to read full story)
Archaeologists have unveiled the most detailed map ever produced of the earth beneath Stonehenge and its surrounds. They combined different instruments to scan the area to a depth of three metres, with unprecedented resolution. Early results suggest that the iconic monument did not stand alone, but was accompanied by 17 neighbouring shrines.
Future, detailed analysis of this vast collection of data will produce a brand new account of how Stonehenge’s landscape evolved over time.
Among the surprises yielded by the research are traces of up to 60 huge stones or pillars which formed part of the 1.5km-wide “super henge” previously identified at nearby Durrington Walls.
“For the past four years we have been looking at this amazing monument to try and see what was around it,” Prof Vincent Gaffney, from the University of Birmingham, said at the British Science Festival.
The research is also described in BBC Two documentary to be screened on Thursday.
“What was within its landscape?” (click links to read full story)