Technology helping unearth archaeological sites in UAE

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on July 27, 2021
Supplied photo

The ENGEOS Lab is investigating another archaeological site near Al Ain.

Modern technology is helping unearth secrets from the past.

Researchers at Khalifa University of Science and Technology are using satellite remote-sensing to detect buried objects in previously-known archaeological sites and to mark out potentially unexplored sites in the UAE by applying machine-learning techniques to satellite data.

The novel method, which combines satellite data and machine learning, was developed at Khalifa University’s Environmental and Geophysical Sciences (ENGEOS) Lab and can be applied to similar desert environments in the UAE and elsewhere.

The ENGEOS Lab is investigating another archaeological site near Al Ain. The research team uses satellite-borne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) at very high resolution to detect features the size of one meter that might be buried in the sub-surface (less than two meters below), such as the one at Saruq Al Hadid site. Discovered in 2002, the site is believed to have been an iron-age metal ‘factory’ in operation around 1,300-800 BC.

Dr Diana Francis, head of ENGEOS Lab said: “Remote sensing has been able to assist archaeological research in several ways in recent years, including detection of subsurface remains, monitoring of archaeological sites and monuments, and archaeo-landscapes studies. Now, artificial intelligence and machine learning applied to remote sensing can provide additional support and invaluable guidance for on-site archaeological work.”


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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