Sunday, July 08, 2007

Remote sensing update New technology lets historians see the woods beyond the trees
Hundreds of archaeological relics are being uncovered by a laser reading technique that can see through trees to reveal the landscape hidden by forests.

Trees and undergrowth are stripped away by the aerial detection system to show the remains of structures. Among the features uncovered by the system are a missing section of Offa’s Dyke, a Roman road and suspected Iron Age field networks.

The technology, called lidar, bounces laser beams off the ground from an aircraft 3,300ft (1,005m) above and records the minute differences in time it takes for the light to return to build up a three-dimensional picture of the landscape beneath the trees.

That's pretty neat. It'll only pick up larger features though. I wonder if it would work in the more dense tropical rain forests to locate, e.g., Maya settlements.