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Technology helping unearth archaeological sites in UAE

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

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


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Tue 27 Jul 2021, 7:30 PM

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.”


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