YTread Logo
YTread Logo

Archeology - exploring the past with modern technology | DW History Documentary

Archeology - exploring the past with modern technology | DW History Documentary
the technical technological advancement is rapid so rapid it's almost impossible to keep up in the space of a lifetime Rancic we've discovered thousands of new sites from a range of different periods Duncan view the data allows us to sharpen the focus of our inquiry and pinpoint exactly where to perform the dig in

archeology

state-of-the-art

technology

sometimes assumes the guise of an antiquated handcart while archaeologists root poising and Roseanne shot set up their equipment on a
archeology   exploring the past with modern technology dw history documentary
meadow their colleagues nearby are preparing a device that does look more high-tech the geomagnetic apparatus is so heavy it has to be towed by a vehicle both devices do the same thing only this one is larger and can survey a wider area a group of German and Irish archaeologists have met up at the old church at screen a 15th century sites steeped in mysticism but the church ruin is almost young compared to the ancient monuments that dot the surrounding area northwest of Dublin the hill of
screen is located opposite islands cultural treasure the hill of tara a millennia old place of assembly the region is also home to giant megalithic tombs unique monuments built around 3000 BCE by people who left nothing behind but their graves a digital reconstruction lends an impression of the graves interiors many built in alignment

with

astronomical events the archaeologists dragged the sensors across the meadow to determine what lies beneath the surface this device is 2 meters wide and
equipped

with

five sensors you can cover two to three Hector's a day

with

the device like this so it's a fast way of collecting and evaluating archaeological data equipped

with

16 sensors their colleagues magnetometer is even more effective in gathering archaeological evidence so we need to be careful here because if we swap the cables then the sensors will transmit the wrong positions that's why we do a final check to see that everything's working so the proof of the status will
tell you the team is scouting for traces of ancient life underground

with

out the intervention of a shovel it's a non-invasive technique called prospection are now hooking up the geomagnetic device to the computer the computer has the task of recording all the measurement data and showing us where we have to prospect even when we are driving across the terrain Invictus hang forward to prospect in half the 16 sensor device is used to take geomagnetic measurements of the ground really
wondering what we were finding mysterious the landscape harbors a

history

that began thousands of years ago the archaeologists job description calls for knowledge not just of

history

but

technology

too and today it helps if they don't mind being followed by curious horses we don't know exactly what year the church was founded and we also want to know a little more about the

history

prior to the earliest

documentary

sources because we have some references say from the the eighth century
in the 10th century referring to the hill of screen being a place of burial that's called the crosshair show us our exact position

with

the help of GPS data the archaeologists can steer their vehicle across the meadow

with

the precision they need to generate a comprehensive ground image the sensors dragging behind their vehicle measure the Earth's magnetic field which lies underground like an invisible veil the presence of walls or graves alters the pattern of magnetism in the soil and
that is exactly what the sensors can measure the computer registers these disturbances to reveal a long-forgotten structure a shadow of the

past

1,700 kilometers further east in Berlin work is underway on a different type of digital archaeology in game developer Thomas Bremer's studio for virtual reality it looks like a game but it isn't the game designers are working

with

Berlin archaeologist Kai kuhlmeier hip

technology

meets ancient

history

their cooperation has yielded some
surprising discoveries for example the Hittites had an unusual reading technique this one from left to right this one from right to left this one from left to right this again from right to left then back again yeah like in wavy lines that's awesome archaeologists are anchored in

past

centuries and that applies to their methodology to the rapid development of computer

technology

in general but also a virtual archaeology is still something we need to get our heads around and when I tell
people I'm working

with

a game designer they just shut down because gaming

technology

sounds so frivolous but in fact this work is just the opposite this looks like a video game but in fact it's a highly accurate copy of a real temple it's the temple of the weather god from Aleppo one of the most important deities in the ancient Middle East the oldest parts of the temple date from the 3rd millennium BCE

with

visualization software the operator can make the Sun rise and set allowing
for a view of the complex in changing daylight the viewer gets a sense of space size and proportion providing this damage though we are not really standing in this temple we can judge and see things very differently than we could on a normal computer monitor morning - am I on counter yeah just the fact that I can stand here and for example squat down and actually get a three-dimensional view of the object that's something I can't do on a normal computer monitor at all Aleppo in Syria the
temple was located in the heart of the city in the medieval Citadel from 2012 rebels holed up inside used the Citadel to fire on government troops the result 5000 years of

history

turned to dust in a brutal civil war in early 2011 the temple was still intact hi Col Meyers team from Berlin was on site to scan the complex security in the country still seemed so stable that the professor didn't just bring along his students he also took his young daughter on the trip below Amelia you'll see
another representation of the weather god mounting his chariot here he's presented his combat ready what's this that's the symbol for God and that's a mace initially it was solely research but the data required new significance through the ravages of the Syrian civil war we had an unimaginably large amount of data but when the Civil War erupted and we couldn't get there anymore we were left wondering what do we do now it sounds almost cynical now but we were in an ideal
position we were the only team of Near Eastern archaeologists to have scanned everything in 3d it was a turn of good fortune in the midst of terrible misfortunes it's younggook the temple was badly damaged in the war but at least its memory has been digitally preserved the scan data is so precise the inscriptions are even more legible in virtual reality than they were in real life that's he be hobbin on top when I learned to dig I had a piece of paper and a pencil that's mom that
was all today we can use a scanner that is much more accurate than any reproduction on the sheet of paper of course that also gives rise to new fields of inquiry and we can see you know the olive harvest at home this is car the generation of exact copies is a field that also interests maritime archaeologists all over the world measuring and marking shipwrecks underwater is one of their most demanding and arduous tasks and the conditions are not always as good as they are here in the Baltic Sea
of the German island of rügen only exceptional shipwrecks are salvaged and restored like the 14th century Bremen COG one of the world's largest ship finds it took 18 years of expensive conservation work to restore it to its full glory to learn more about this merchant ship from 1380 archeologists created a digital model of the kaga the construction of a ship like this is quite special everything in the vessel is interconnected if you move one part by just 2 centimeters it distorts the
archeology   exploring the past with modern technology dw history documentary
entire shape of the ship so the computer gives you an overview you're not dealing

with

a 23 meter long ship you don't have to search the entire vessel for the place responsible for a deformation instead you can clearly see how every step you take impacts the entire structure and check whether a given step has changed the overall shape the

technology

allowed researchers for example to find out how the COG was sailed

with

out ever having to lower it into water there is a shipwreck off
rügen that is not worth recovering but it is nevertheless of interest to archeologists thus what's special about this find is that it dates from the middle or perhaps even the early 16th century a period from which very few ships have been found and there's evidence that the word may have come from handbook d bizarre codes are or sandbox dams oil even today certain details of the ship can be more clearly rendered if they are copied underwater by hand but the main job is done by a
special camera it takes hundreds of images that are then used to generate a 3d computer model of the shipwreck while the wood has been perfectly preserved in the nutrient-poor water off the Baltic the current has eroded the rig down to its floor Deb it's Tobias that's the great thing about it is you never see the wreck like this on a dive because visibility is poor but you can create a model like this even if you have a visibility of just 30 centimeters you just have to take enough photo
so they overlap then you're looking at something no one has ever seen in that shape or form for example the frigates ballast stones that still lie along the ship floor

with

out them the vessel couldn't have carried its cargo of heavy cannons one of the most spectacular exhibits in the collection of Berlin's Museum of Islamic art goes largely unnoticed by visitors but the digital world is coming to its rescue Kai Col Myers latest project is the richly carved wood dome that was
originally housed in the nasstrac palaces of the world-famous Alhambra in Granada Spain in Berlin the dome is forced to lead a wallflower existence for conservation reasons the dome is very poorly illuminated here in Berlin visitors can't appreciate it the way they could omit the light conditions in the Alhambra our aim is to recreate those lighting conditions virtually to allow visitors both here in the Berlin museum and visitors to the Alhambra an experience of the dome in its original
context in invasion context such as Italy in 1891 the banker our turf on Grenaa was granted permission by the spanish authorities to move the dome to germany he had acquired a small palace on the alhambra from a Spanish opera singer and later bequeathed it to the Spanish state but he decided to keep the dome for himself for a time it decorated his villa in Berlin before he donated it to the museum the dome was originally painted and gilded it's crafted from cedar and poplar wood and
consists of dozens of parts a star ornament of heavenly beauty one of the world's most important prehistoric landscapes is located in a bend of Islands River Boyne northwest of Dublin the passage graves of Newgrange Daffy and Nath were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 the central Neolithic mound of mouth has a circumference of 275 metres and is surrounded by 20 smaller tombs the significance of numerous engraved stones remains a mystery many stories and legends are associated

with

the enormous mounds they are said to be the birthplace of heroes the hidden dwellings of elves and kings the mound graves of Newgrange darth and mouth are all located

with

in sight of each other it's long been standard practice in archaeology to use drones to get an overview of the landscape the drones gather data to build digital terrain models on the computer sites

with

churches dating from the Middle Ages often have an older heritage invisible underground evil rulers seeking to exert
political military or religious controller for a territory would occupy any place that carried a particular significance so we use these old sites as a starting point because it's easy to imagine that

with

Christianization these ancient sites were chosen as places to build churches and in fact when it comes time to evaluate the data from their geomagnetic survey the archaeologists discover round structures that appear to predate the small medieval village they may be traces of circular
graves enclosing burial mounds or they could be round house in their distribution these objects make no reference to this ditch complex so one can assume that they date from another period discovering hidden relics

with

out digging draws on

technology

that originated in military applications which Tim Takeo physically from a certain geophysical methods are based on measuring differences in the Earth's magnetic field the

technology

comes from hunting submarines which could be located under
water because they created disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field this is a method that we now use in a modified form in

archeology

Watson axel Paz Lucien E is surrounded by traces of the

past

his work focuses on the mountain plateau of globert near Frankfurt that was first settled thousands of years ago the Celts in particular left their mark on the area today it is known that the plateau was surrounded by a magnificent wall it did not serve as a fortification the slope was steep
enough rather it was designed to signal the power and splendor of the Celtic princes it began here in the so-called Neolithic Age

with

the emergence of the first farmers and cattle breeders in the region of the Vetta the first settlement up here the Mitchells burg culture had no ramparts development continued into the late bronze age and by the early Iron Age around 500 BCE it was settled by the first people we could classify as Celts and they were also the first to fortify this plateau stitched
on an inconspicuous aerial photo taken in 1988 opened the door to one of the most spectacular discoveries in archaeology in Germany archaeologists have been using aerial photography for decades to identify structures in the ground but this method only yields results following long periods of drought ones each here in the field here you can see a darker structure relatively clearly in the grain which indicates that the grain is being supplied

with

more moisture in this particular place so it can
be assumed that there is a ditch there that retains the moisture better there's a holding the grave of a Celtic Prince was discovered deep in the field at the foot of the globe urgh the corresponding burial mound had been plowed away long ago the huge hill has since been reconstructed and a museum installed behind the hill a life-sized sandstone figure was found near the grave the figure was endowed

with

decorative chains and rings it was lying in a ditch together

with

fragments from other
statues the Celtic Prince is crowned by a strange headpiece a golden chain was found in the princes grave the stone figure was depicted wearing exactly the same chain it's likely that the stone warrior prince of glaub egg is the exact likeness of a person who lived more than two-and-a-half thousand years ago the body in the tomb was found

with

the same strange headpiece as the one crowning the stone figure in subsequent years aerial archaeology has made further strides we are leaving the
archeology   exploring the past with modern technology dw history documentary
cluster in addition to classical aerial archaeology now carried out digitally we also have other computer assisted methods of non-destructive testing to obtain information about archaeological remains and often saw become the most important of these methods is the lidar scan the scanner is fitted to an airplane and surveys the landscape below lidar scanning was originally used by surveyors but for archaeologists the data has proved a quantum leap in knowledge even if lidar terrain models look
somewhat unspectacular at first glance what makes the lidar scan so invaluable is the methods ability to remove the noise of trees and vegetation from the data Levin knows diluted ground-penetrating radar shoots electromagnetic pulses into the earth from airplanes and sometimes helicopters these signals are reflected back by any underground structures and the difference in the laser return times makes it possible to create a 3d image of the terrain it works in the forest as well because enough
laser light can penetrate through the trees so that we achieve a relatively exact surface image even in the forest on this image you can follow the course of the Roman Lemus the border between the Roman Empire and non occupied regions this here may have been a watchtower and here in the forest the remnants of a field of burial mounds this one here could theoretically be a burial mound that was opened in the

past

my guess would be sometime in the 18th century at the time people typically entered
from the top we call it funneling so they've dug a funnel into the mound to extract burial objects or skeletons and what remained were these small holes at the top of the mound these faint traces indicate that's what happened here axial pasa Lucian he discovered a large burial mound very close to the grave of the Celtic Prince a tiny dot on the scanner image not visible as a grave amid the thicket of the forest multiple layers of our

past

s lie beneath the ground we walk on we just
can't see it digital archaeology makes the invisible visible in Ireland to the number of discovered monuments has increased a hundredfold

with

the use of

modern

prospecting methods one particularly spectacular example is the Hill of Tara the mysterious national treasure it was the seat of Irish kings and pagan priests at the height of their power the Hill of Tara exudes an air of magic in Ireland back in the 19th century Irishmen would gather here and swear a holy oath not to rest until the
land had won its independence and there was a reason they did it here today self-proclaimed druids inhabit the area at night you can hear them playing their harps Christians built a church here Ruth poising and Roseann shot systematically stride the length and breadth of the meadow on the expansive plateau

with

their magnetometer here in Terra it's a safe bet they'll find something interesting and they do the digital data shows numerous circles below the surface grave mounds or maybe
sites of assembly when we first started investigating tired there were about twenty five monuments known these monument that are visible but through geophysical survey we know there's more than a hundred monuments a lot of which you can't see above-ground are buried beneath the surface old maps can give clues to vanish structures the people of Terah lived thousands of years before the invention of writing they recorded their

history

in the ground and crafted sacred landscapes that only
need to be deciphered a deep channel on the plateau was probably once a processional route it's clearly visible on the lidar scan it leads directly to the inner sanctuary the Ratner II a large ring wall complex in fact it's a processional way and believe this is the route that the king elect would take on his way up to the summit of the hill of tara to be inaugurated to the left and right of the processional route ramparts were built to direct the March as gaze to key monuments
interestingly there are a number of gaps along the length of the banks in which you can get a view out on very significant monuments and in particular burrow amendments so it seems prehistoric builders knew all about visual effects but they also show infinite what I personally find particularly appealing is that up here you're afforded a wide view of the landscape surrounding town and there are similar monuments on many of these mountains and hilltops not in the abundance we find on the hill
Otara that is truly unique but there are also individual monuments which ultimately may have a common point of reference the hill of Ward is another site that harbors a mysterious sanctuary students from Dublin are digging their way into the hill at precisely defined points according to legend Halloween originated on the hill of ward a pagan festival of fire on the night of October the 31st and in fact the students do find a large amount of animal bones an indication that people here may have
come together for large celebrations

with

copious amounts of food Irish archaeologist Stephen Davis has surveyed the hill but he was unable to find anything

with

geomagnetic he has a simple explanation one of the problems

with

using magnetic survey here which is what we might use of course the rest of it it's all this heavy burning that you've seen behind you there's all this heavy burning it's very heavily magnetic just because it's been burned so the whole thing really
lights up and you can't see anything at all so

with

with

earth resistance in this case so we can see that this big mound behind us here is actually defined by us a stone wall which is actually what we're taking out now in this case that's why that's why we dug here we've dug a small section into the side of this mound

with

the stone ward in the centre geo electric surveys measure the soil resistance and create images of structures underground only now can researchers identify
the various walls and ditches in the complex were rituals really celebrated and large bonfires ignited here overnight on October the 31st archeological clues could confirm the theory is the Lehrer Bernie okay so the burn into a place before whatever happened here that's falling down onto itself and this extends all the way up here they have a fire festival here now but it's it's hypothesized had a fire festival going back almost since the I&A there are many evil references to
preachers and druids meeting here and lighting a great fire but those references would be several hundred years after it would have happened so we we always treat them

with

a certain skepticism but we are finding a lot of evidence of fire here so who knows aside from graves and ritual sites the people who built these complex has left only one thing behind the bodies of their murdered kings they're bog bodies are on display at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin the graves and their dead
are the only testimony of early Irish people are people who had no written language like in Tara a processional route can be made out in the digital data from the hill of ward a road that is no longer visible in the meadows the same was true of the Celtic burial ground on the globe ERG here it's not just the burial mound that's been reconstructed but also the processional route leading up to the hill it was flanked by deep trenches and originally much longer this is clear from the
digital data a geomagnetic survey has revealed the roads further course today it's known that the road was bordered by a high wall which was up to 12 meters wide at the base visitors could only see the grave mound after turning the corner researchers believe the hill was even whitewashed like in Ireland the structures here were designed

with

visuals in mind and astronomically aligned others it's not a road that marks a path from A to B it's aligned

with

the southern major lunar
standstill an astronomical phenomenon that occurs every 18.6 years so it was possible to devise units of time

with

out a calendar

with

out a watch over a longer period of time well is your nest the Alhambra in Granada there are few other sites in Europe that draw as many tourists every day only 5,000 visitors are allowed to enter the castle the tickets are sold out weeks in advance Keuchel Maya feels privileged to work here kuhlmeier and his team have been working for days at the Palacio del
parral the villa that belonged to a sultan then to an opera singer and then a German banker from Berlin it was from here that our tour Fond winner removed the decorative dome in 1891 it was replaced by a poor copy it's really a great feeling to be able to get a sense of the domes original setting the aromas the views through the windows all make for an entirely different experience than if you're standing in a museum and looking up in a dimly lit room every detail of the chamber is
carefully documented

with

a high performance scanner watching the lengths being gone to hear one can't help but ask why Berlin doesn't just return the dome to its original home the archaeologists call such considerations a historical pickle previously gone the dome was brought to Berlin legally there's no question about it it now has its own story and that story includes that of its previous owner the German banker who acquired it and brought it to Germany he incorporated it into his
own villa there and then via a detour it arrived at the Berlin Museum this story belongs to the objects provenance it can't be ignored let's see me disappear the digital reconstruction reveals the Chamber's long-lost splendor the original dome housed in the Berlin museum has been integrated into this virtual reality experience the dome from this chamber was one of the oldest components of the Alhambra probably carved around 1320 if the dome was still in place here the tower chamber
is too small to accommodate the alhambra z' 5000 daily visitors no one would ever get a glimpse of a Tina in places where the walls are too high for the scanner another method is used photogrammetry a 3d model is generated using thousands of overlapping photos in principle I think it's a good idea to upload 3d images of these objects to the internet because then everyone can access them so conch feeding in Island scientists are a step ahead many scanned objects have already been posted
on the Internet before the German archaeologists returned home they take a few soil samples it's an inexpensive substitute for an excavation the researchers are in doubt an area dotted

with

prehistoric burial mounds and medieval farms a power cable runs underground through a small medieval settlement geomagnetic data helps archaeologists avoid hitting an electric cable rather than a medieval ditch that's the big difference today in the ideal scenario I already know a tremendous amount
about the site before I start my dig and that enables me to plan the dig very precisely generally the areas of excavation are much smaller than they used to be because I simply don't have to search as much as I used to the archaeologists are drilling at a location they suspect harbors a waste pit like

modern

garbage bins their historical predecessors say a lot about the living conditions of the people who lived here the team can tell immediately that their technicians have hit the right spot
john Boozman grants good see what you can see quite well here is the lowest layer that we still had on the drill head and that there is charcoal in it so we already know we're in the middle of the occupation layer but I can't say I'm surprised because we already knew from the geomagnetic data that there's a structure here which we've already been able to classify fairly accurately if we hadn't found this it'd be an indication that we'd messed up our measurements
but it was accurate aha we've collected a lot of information

with

out one's driving our shovel into the soil and what is particularly satisfying is what we found in the core sample namely charcoal through radiocarbon dating we'll be able to establish how old this charcoal is which doesn't mean we'll know how old the ditches but that's how we proceed one step at a time and of course when the botanists then examine the charcoal for us we'll know what type of trees were
burned here the soil samples undergo further testing in Frankfurt the small pieces of charcoal from the historical waste pit are treated

with

the same tender love and care as any ancient ceramic shard finally the soil is pulsed

with

x-rays to break down its chemical components Knut Raz man is hunting for a very specific element a minge divided among a human excretes about one kilogram of phosphorus per year in cattle it's about 8 kilograms if we have a lot of phosphorus it's probable
that it's from the faeces of humans and animals so it's an early indicator of the length of time this spot was settled was this settlement used for a short time or a longer duration the higher the phosphorus impact the higher the probability that the settlement was used for a long time

with

their high-tech equipment archaeologists have pinpointed many places where they could dig but they don't because digging destroys traces that hold out the promise of key insights

with

future as
yet undeveloped methods we shoulder a responsibility

archeology

is a finite field the sites do not grow back and things that have been excavated are lost to research unfortunately this is an inherent part of archaeological excavation in Nairobi Suba dissolves comes in your hand digital archaeology is the future of historical research but even today we can't do everything on a computer we're standing here in the landscape and we feel what's unique about it we see the Hill of Tara we
see the topography we get a holistic sense of the place it's not possible to reproduce that in a virtual world

technology

provides us

with

useful tools but the archaeologists still has to do fieldwork