Ancient rock art in Tadrart Acacus in Libya. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New imaging techniques have revealed extensive ancient human settlements in two very different remote environments.
Sahara civilization: By scanning satellite images, David Mattingly from the University of Leicester found that habitation of the Sahara from 1000 BC to 700 AD was much more widespread than realized. Lizzie Wade at Science Magazine reports on a presentation given to the AAAS. In “Drones and satellites spot lost civilizations in unlikely places,” she says that Mattingly–
…studies a culture known as the Garamantes, which began building a network of cities, forts, and farmland around oases in the Sahara of southern Libya around 1000 B.C.E.…
Many Garamantian structures are still standing in some form or another today, but very few have been visited by archaeologists. It’s hard to do fieldwork in the hot, dry, remote Sahara, Mattingly explains. “And that relative absence of feet on the ground leads to an absence of evidence” about the Garamantes and other cultures that may have thrived before the Islamic conquest of the region. But because many Garamantin sites haven’t been buried or otherwise destroyed, they show up in stunning detail in satellite photos. By analyzing such images, “in an area of about 2500 square kilometers, we’ve located 158 major settlements, 184 cemeteries, 30 square kilometers of fields, plus a variety of irrigation systems,” Mattingly says.
That phrase “the Islamic conquest of the region” sounds hauntingly familiar, as ISIS makes inroads into modern Libya.
Amazon civilization: Just as startling was the presentation by José Iriarte, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter. He is using drones outfitted with radar and infrared cameras to peel away the story of ancient Amazonian dwellings. His findings are changing the paradigm about rain forest inhabitants:
Continue Reading on crev.info