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Using Google Earth to Find Ancient Cities

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the hey-umm-guys-it's-over-here dept.

Science 127

An anonymous reader writes "A story in the online site of the Aussie science mag Cosmos discusses how archaeologists are using sophisticated satellite images to find previously undiscovered cities. What 's really cool is how some are simply using Google Earth — and discovering all sorts of previously unknown sites!"

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127 comments

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944028)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
using google to find goatse [goatse.ch]

WMD Found (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944062)


in this bunker [whitehouse.org] .

I hope this contributes to world peace.

PatRIOTically,
Kilgore Trout

Re:WMD Found (4, Funny)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944096)

Maybe we can find out the location of Dick Cheney's Undisclosed Location.

Re:WMD Found (3, Funny)

RockedMan40 (1130729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944238)

Easy; National check of hospitals with shotgun wounds by bird hunters.

Re:WMD Found (3, Funny)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944522)

Or just dangle an oil drenched sack of money on a stick.. he'll show up.

Re:WMD Found (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948334)

Maybe we can find out the location of Dick Cheney's Undisclosed Location.
Everybody already knows it is in Innsmouth, Massachusetts.

or has Bush once referred to it,

    "..amongst the Haves (tentacles) and the Have More (more tentacles), My Base! [chuckles]

He's in the house owned by Charles Dexter Ward

Re:WMD Found (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948496)

Everybody already knows it is in Innsmouth, Massachusetts.


He's in the house owned by Charles Dexter Ward

Well, that's just for now. His Summer residence is a mountain cabin in the Antartic.

Google Earth (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947478)

I've found mineral springs &c. that are not indicated on USGS maps. It is good to see visible the places I can identify from my own travels It is very interesting to look at deer/elk/human trails from the sky.

No comments and the side is already quite slow, so (4, Informative)

pklinken (773410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944076)

Re:No comments and the side is already quite slow, (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944462)

Why was NASA employing an archaeologist?

Re:No comments and the side is already quite slow, (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944614)

Easy. They want to find where the little green men on Mars used to have their cities!

Seriously, though, if anyone's thinking about pointing a satellite back at Earth, why not have an archaeologist looking at the feeds for just the purpose TFS (can't read the article do to /.edness) suggests?

Re:No comments and the side is already quite slow, (1)

pklinken (773410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944910)

In your reply to a comment that links to a cached copy of the article you complain it's slashdotted?
That's odd.

Re:No comments and the side is already quite slow, (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945030)

The mirror is slashdotted, the original article is working fine.

Makes you wonder why they bothered mirrororing it...

Re:No comments and the side is already quite slow, (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945556)

I didn't reply to any comment with any link in it.

I replied to a reply to a comment that had a link. That server has been at times slashdotted too.

So sorry for your sake that I don't click on every link in every post between the submission and the post to which I'm replying, but some of us have things to do besides look at goatse and myminicity redirects.

Re:little green men (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21948144)

How do we know that we were NOT bioengineered? Probably not by green men from Mars, as the only place on that rock that might be remotely habitable is the bottom of the great rift, six miles deep. The air is rarified on this world a mere 10,000 feet up. Mars atmosphere is about what ours is at about 40,000 feet or so give or take. Really hardy organisms live on top of Mt Everest! If there is any flowing water on Mars, it also would be somewhere at the bottom of the Great Rift as well. Personally I would be happy to find just microbes there. Even microbes would put the Pope, all the archbishops and every Mullah and Ayatollah on the planet out of a job or into the mob calling for the heads of those who let the fact of extra-terrestrial life 'out of the bag'. As for our bioengineers, that might have been a small operation by some outworlder 'Dr Moreau' types who wanted to do some illegal experiments out of view of their government; and we were the guinea pigs who got their DNA mixmastered with some other indigenous species and maybe some of the foreigner's own DNA in order to produce a sentient species 'locally grown'. Good possibility the 'Dr Moreau's' government or another government found out about it and has been watching us ever since, off and on. Probably let us alone until we start seriously to go into space or develop some space compression and expansion technologies....ie: we get the ability to visit outside our home system, or discover foreign listening posts, mining operations, or other operations that had been considered 'hidden'.

Re:No comments and the side is already quite slow, (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948602)

They need someone to translate ancient Egyptian.

Re:No comments and the side is already quite slow, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946184)

The right side or the left side?

Google must be a treasure trove... (0)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944086)

For treasure hunters.

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944760)

Wonder if anyone going to produce a set of software tools to spread the search around as is done with SETI. Projects for examination of the images could likely gain a bunch of grants in the future for universities. In Mexico they should push for this just as a matter of national pride [bc-alter.net] and in seeking the truth in legends and history. Many such examples exist around the world and treasure seekers today are affected by laws regarding archeological finds.

It would be a treasure to many to find evidence of "lay lines" in those images. Others of course would want to bury such evidence. Can expect many to be looking at places like the Bermuda Triangle too. In short, more then one kind of "treasure" to be sought for more then one kind of mind.

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (2, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945040)

Ley lines probably do exist in some form or another. Magnetic deposits in the crust, auroras, the Earth's own main magnetic field and all kinds of things mean it's not completely improbable that lines of energy flow from one point of the globe to another naturally. The major magnetic field of the Earth from its rotating iron and nickel fore surely has fluctuations in it that cause energy imbalances. Those imbalances will be settled by moving electrons around.

That it's some mystical "mana" energy that flows from place to place is fantasy. So is the idea that the lines are permanently positioned and don't move as the fluctuations which cause the energy imbalances would cause the flow of energy to fluctuate too. The idea that a great deal of energy is included shows a basic misunderstanding of electricity since any large amount of energy would discharge into any sufficient path to ground. A nexus where two lines of energy meet but keep flowing past that point as two separate lines is pretty doubtful.

The whole ley line, nexus, and rift/gateway type of system is a great feature of fantasy fiction and role-playing games. There's no reason for scientists to bother investigating it IRL though. If someone could show some predictably repeatable phenomenon that could only be explained by magical energy of some sort, then there'd be some scientists willing to court the Nobel for finding evidence of that.

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945430)

"Ley lines probably do exist in some form or another."

Of course they exist. They are lines that connect points of gullibility :)

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945684)

If you don't believe that short, small, dynamic bursts of energy from one point to another sometimes happen, then why don't you show us the evidence to refute it?

Do you really think all air is equally conductive? Do you think that discharges of static happen in a perfect sphere? Does the ionosphere reflect man-made radio waves only at certain angles and not natural radiation? Do clouds, hills, and deposits of metal in the ground not effect the shape of magnetic fields? DO you think magnetic fields interacting has nothing to do with electricity?

Go ahead, say you were just responding to one sentence and that you didn't read the post. Then stop responding to things you didn't read.

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945838)

Then stop responding to things you didn't read.
You mean like the strange punctuation at the end of his reply? I believe it is called a smiley and you may want to look up its meaning.

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946106)

Oh, a smiley makes everything alright? Gee, and I just thought they meant humor was intended. In the context, how do you know just what humor was intended?

"I'm making fun of the same people you're trying to set straight."
"You're gullible and I'm pointing it out, but here's a smiley because I don't want to seem too hard on you."
"Energy doesn't move around without human intervention, you silly beast."

Which one, definitively now, was it?

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946224)

The first one, of course. He was making fun of the "magical" ley-line people.

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946258)

You mean like the strange punctuation at the end of his reply? I believe it is called a smiley and you may want to look up its meaning.
Agree and he might want to reconsider on this as well, being as such research could lead to some insight on some of Tesla's research and legends:

There's no reason for scientists to bother investigating it IRL though.
Any sufficiently advanced science is viewable as magic (paraphasing old, well known quote due to laziness here). As I said previously:

In short, more then one kind of "treasure" to be sought for more then one kind of mind.
and as GP pointed out humorously, even if we don't find a way to gain energy from them, some will find other methods, even grants for such research into Tesla type experiments would be viewed by some in this fashion:

Of course they exist. They are lines that connect points of gullibility :)
Of course even if we found a way to tap those flows, corporations, governments and religions would all try to claim control of it, or abolish it as contrary to their plans.

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (2, Informative)

Pfhorrest (545131) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947470)

Of course even if we found a way to tap those flows, corporations, governments and religions would all try to claim control of it, or abolish it as contrary to their plans.
Not to mention the wise old adage, TANSTAAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. If you could somehow tap energy from the Earth's magnetic fields, the Earth's magnetic fields would weaken. And unlike most other power sources on Earth (excepting nuclear), the planet's magnetism is not solar-powered, and the Earth will not recharge its magnetic field naturally. The Earth's magnetosphere is responsible for many important life-sustaining functions, such as protecting us all, in non-polar regions at least, from the more harmful bits of radiation coming from the sun. (I suppose you might try to harvest the deflected radiation which causes auroras at the poles, and so indirectly take advantage of the magnetosphere without depleting it).

Did you ever see the movie "The Core"? It would be something like that, except less lame and far more problematic to fix. (Most likely whatever method you used to tap the energy from the core could simply be reversed, since electric motors are all capable of being electric generators and vice versa, so you wouldn't have to mount an exciting manned expedition deep into the Earth's mantle to fix it ala The Core. But, that would require that you supply even more energy than you've been taking out. Imagine if, when we ran out of oil, we not only had to find an alternative fuel source but had to spend it all on somehow creating new oil deposits, lest we all die from some resultant catastrophe. Where the hell are we going to get all that energy from, and why weren't we using it to begin with?)

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947358)

If you don't believe that short, small, dynamic bursts of energy from one point to another sometimes happen, then why don't you show us the evidence to refute it?


Of course "bursts of energy" can occur from one point to another. Lightning would be a good example. The problem is that there is some vague notion of a "line of energy" which some people like to call a "ley line". I suppose this amounts to some kind of equally vague hypothesis. However, a hypothesis usually stems from some kind of an observation which you wish to explain, so what is the observation is the case of "ley lines"? There really doesn't seem to be any kind of sensible or consistent observation to explain in the first place.

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (2, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947782)

I think much of what people think of as magical is very often an oral and literary history of the misunderstandings and exaggerations of real, verifiable phenomena of a completely non-magical nature.

In the particular case of ley lines many possible phenomena like magnetic ores, auroras, swap gas, early morning fog over distant mountains, fault lines, weather fronts, and maybe even stratus clouds could have been seen as evidence of something we'd explain away in the days of science and skepticism. If you consider wind or water the sources of magical energy by their very nature, then the jet stream or large rivers become your ley lines.

The whole point is that people who engage in magical thinking aren't engaging in scientific thinking. There's no hypothesis. There's just belief in something and perhaps anecdotal evidence to reinforce the belief. They're not being bad scientists. They're being non-scientists.

So what are the observations? A compass goes wild along this side of this mountain, along pretty much a straight line (where the magnetite is). The air is sometimes cooler on that side of the street than this one (because it takes time for cool, dense air and warm, lighter air to mix at a weather front) when there are large storms. There are lights in the sky that dance and change color. There's a crack in the Earth, and great movement and destruction is unleashed from it (fault lines).

Now, over thousands of years, with little or no influence from science, how were the people seeing those things and talking about them supposed to explain them? The only point to be made about these explanations today is that we have a better understanding now and don't have to keep retelling the myths as anything more than myths.

Ley lines and dowsing rods (2, Interesting)

Pfhorrest (545131) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947244)

I've an interesting anecdote along these lines (no pun intended).

The people I work for are somewhat floofy new-age spiritualists. During my first week at this job, they had some 'feng-shuei' person over with a pair of straight metal rods with little right-angle bends at the ends for handles - "dowsing rods" - to detect where the "magnetic ley lines" of the building were, and thus how to align the furniture. Said person would walk around the building, "dowsing rods" in hand, and every so often then would swing together, indicating that they had passed over a "magnetic ley line". Needless to say I was highly suspicious of the accuracy of such crude equipment and methods in detecting such subtle energies. After watching this for some time, the new-age consultant person finally left, and gave her "dowsing rods" to my boss to keep. I asked the boss if I could see the "dowsing rods", and she said sure, but what will I do with them, I don't know how to use them.

So I held them out parallel in front of me like the floofy new-age consultant had, stared at them intently, and - voila! The rods crossed! I relaxed my gaze and they became parallel again. I stared intently again and the rods crossed again. My boss was amazed! How was I doing that, she asked. And I replied, "I'm tilting my hands ever so slightly."

She was... disenchanted, I suppose is the word. Though it doesn't seem to have dissuaded her from similar beliefs, such as her fear of "EMFs... or EMRs or ELFs or whatever the bad ones are", coming out of the wiring in her bedroom. I guess some people just don't care to grok real physics, and prefer to see magic dangers and health-improving furniture arrangement strategies in this spooky electromagnetism stuff.

I had the opposite experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21948202)

Years ago we had a 'water douser' come out to show us where to dig a well in Western Montana. My uncle arranged it, and the scientifically aware relatives (me included) were rolling our eyes. We watched as the douser walked around and saw the birch branch (a symmetrical 'y' which he held with two hands, thumbs pointing out, the tail of the 'y' away from him). And sure enough, it periodically pointed down.

I was extremely skeptical.

Then the douser let me try it. Sure enough, as I walked from here to there, the dousing rod would pull down. And not just a little bit. It pulled hard. Then I'd move a few more feet and back it would come.

My scientific brain was addled. I have no explanation for what caused it. It was repeatable by location and independent of approach direction. I have no idea how good the correlation to 'water below' was. (There was some 'special skill' required by the douser to 'interpret' the dousing rod, we were told. I've always suspected the special skills had more to do with 'water below' than the rod.)

But I've never been able to explain the repeatable dousing rod 'pull'. I did my best to remove controllable elements. (Yes, I closed my eyes and wandered aimlessly to confirm that the rod behavior wasn't from my own bias. The rod always pulled in the same spots, which I only recognized when I opened my eyes -- after the rod began pulling. It was very strange, and left quite an impression. This all happened in 1979.)

And I'm not faithful, superstitious, or subscribe to weird theories of the universe (electrical or otherwise - I even have doubts about string theory - so there....). I just can't (yet) explain it.

Re:Google must be a treasure trove... (1)

lethalwp (583503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946870)

I'm trying to find my treasure girl using google maps, but either:
  - the area isn't covered by high definition
  - even the 'high res' isn't suffisent to wacht ppl's face
  - not enough updates, no "earth movie"
  - still didn't found a infrared option to see what ppl are doing at night through the roofs!

Crap

Work underwater? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944162)

I RTFA and as a scuba-diver I'm curious if this technology can be used to detect underwater structures?

Re:Work underwater? (5, Interesting)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944242)

An infra red imaging device, or certain wavelengths of radar should work nicely. And I am sure there are satellites up there that are capable of that.

Imagine the submarine hunting possibilities! No way the military has not at least investigated the technology...

Re:Work underwater? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944678)

Water absorbs electromagnetic waves very quickly, making radar useless for detecting underwater objects. Accoustic waves are propagated very well though, which makes sonar an excellent choice for underwater surveying. The only thing satellites can image is the ocean surface. If the objects of interest are in very shallow water and visible from the surface then satellite images may be useful. Anything deeper than a few feet won't be detectable without side scan sonar.

NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) (2, Interesting)

link-error (143838) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945202)

They used radar to map almost the entire earth. Mission Site http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/mission.htm [nasa.gov]

"SRTM acquired enough data during its ten days of operation to obtain the most complete near-global high-resolution database of the Earth's topography."

    The data is very accurate and they released a version of the data to the public. Apparently, there is a much more accurate classified version of the data. I'm sure they could find all sorts of things with this database.

  Note, they also used the ground-zero/oceans to calibrate the device on every orbit of the earth which means it doesn't penetrate into the water.

Re:Work underwater? (3, Interesting)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945462)

You mean something like the SOSUS network [findarticles.com] .

Re:Work underwater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947056)

Parent comment should not be modded up. Anyone who's looked at IR imagery knows that bodies of water are easily recognizable as showing up BLACK. As another has pointed out, water is very good at absorbing EM radiation.

Re:Work underwater? (0)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944512)

I always try to build my ancient cities underwater.

Re:Work underwater? (1)

sunwukong (412560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944722)

I wish you wouldn't give your cities such tongue-blasted hard names to pronounce! "R'lyeh" -- wtf?

Yours truly,

Nyarlathotep

Re:Work underwater? (5, Interesting)

NorthWestFLNative (973147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944524)

Ultraviolet photographs might work, but since water absorbs longer wavelengths infrared photographs may not show anything. On a side note, that's why everything underwater looks blue-green without a supplemental light, the red wavelength has been mostly absorbed.

Re:Work underwater? (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946982)

I think almost every substance absorbs UV strongly, since it's at the right frequency to excite atomic and molecular electrons. From the graph here [lsbu.ac.uk] , about halfway down, it would seem water absorbs in the near UV about as well as it absorbs red light (and significantly better than it does in the blue visible region). In the far UV water seems to absorbs as well as it does in the infrared.

Didn't work for me (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945926)

I looked at some wreck sites I know and could not see any hints of the wrecks.

Besides, after a few hundred years wrecks don't look like anything from close up unless you really know what you're looking for.

I remember a Slashdot story about (0, Redundant)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944212)

easter eggs that are found on Google earth.

I distinctly remember the guy writing the love letter in the cornfield and the firefight in Iraq.

My point is, someone should sit down and study those images in depth, or there should be something like a hubble looking back towards earth. There is so much on our planet to be discovered still, and it can only be good for mankind.

As an aside, I wonder how much those images are worth to Google, they must be worth a fortune!

CIA (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947998)

I thought the Hubble was just a cheesy civilian knock-off of our intelligence satellites.

Were any mini cities found? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944258)

Mine, perhaps?

Yours?

First time... (5, Interesting)

oblonski (1077335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944274)

...I came across Google Earth was in September 2005, and I remember what led me to it was a story about Italian person finding old Roman ruins while discovering some 'formations' near his home village

Nothing new really (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945984)

Archaeologists have been using aerial photos almost forever. Google just makes these more accessable. Even flying over an area in a microlight helps show up details of old structures etc as variances in the way vegetation grows etc.

Why bother with the map? (0, Offtopic)

SeanTobin (138474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944278)

Why bother with Google maps? Just let Google search for them.

undiscovered ancient city [google.com]

they did this in 1992 (5, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944286)

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/radar/sircxsar//ubar1.html [nasa.gov]

they found a biblical city called ubar in oman this way, by tracing the minute traces left by ancient caravan roads only visible by certain radars on a huge scale

no lost ark, but apparently this is where all that weird stuff called frankincense came from

satellite imagery (4, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944484)

You are right to point at the older story -- we need to make a distinction. The scientific point here is the use of satellite imagery to locate old cities. To social point is that Google Earth has made satellite images infinitely more accessible -- you don't need to be part of NASA anymore.

Re:satellite imagery (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945862)

To social point is that Google Earth has made satellite images infinitely more accessible -- you don't need to be part of NASA anymore.

You haven't needed to be part of NASA - ever.
 
Seriously - aerial and satellite photography has been openly available for decades. All you had to have was either a) cash to have them taken, or b) the patience to search the available archives. A model railroad club I was a member of was using 1 meter imagery from the state archives as far back as 1992.
 
"Unknown to the general public" != "unavailable".

Re:satellite imagery (1)

LooseChanj (17865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947516)

What part of "more accessible" did you not understand?

"Available"!="Accessible"

Tower of Babel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947222)

When I get a free half-hour I'm gonna look for compacted earth that would indicate the foundation of the Tower of Babel. The tower was built from bricks of baked clay. When it got too close to Heaven (sin of pride), God tore it down and caused people to speak different languages so they couldn't cooperate. What makes me think that God didn't wipe out all traces of the foundation when he destroyed the tower? Simple: he's a slacker. Because we now have over two dozen buildings taller than a thousand ft. (much higher than you could have ever been achieved with clay bricks) and many of them were built by multinational companies using bi-lingual and tri-lingual employees and interpreters. I'm gonna be mega-famous when I find the Tower of Babel! Unless God gets wind of my idea and stops me with a bolt of lightning through my keyboarrrrrrrrrgh!

Re:satellite imagery (2, Interesting)

bangthegong (1190059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947970)

What would be nice is if NASA were to let Google Earth overlay all this non-visible wavelength data right in Google Earth. I think that other uses can be probably be found for this technique, and other interesting insights might be gained, if more people could view Google Earth at infrared and other wavelengths. Archaeology for the masses!

aerial imagery (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948154)

I'd like some more very-high-resolution bits spliced in, more res in general. I guess the extra data costs extra cash. I know I can't afford any shots of Usk, B.C. on my pay.

Nice, but. . . (5, Funny)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944334)

Do these cities have StreetView yet? It could provide a vivid picture of what life was like in ancient times. :)

Re:Nice, but. . . (4, Funny)

daeley (126313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945952)

They're working on it, but haven't been able to get the camera cars up to the requisite 88 mph.

Re:Nice, but. . . (2, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946612)

Do these cities have StreetView yet? It could provide a vivid picture of what life was like in ancient times. :)

It's only a matter of time.

It's laugably easy! (5, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944372)

In just five minutes I found this weird ancient obelisk!

Obelisk [google.com]

Wow! A previously unknown sphinx!

Sphinx [google.com]

Some sort of ancient roadway system. It's a bit hard to make out.

Ancient trade routes [google.com]

Re:It's laugably easy! (1, Redundant)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944952)

Wow, anyone else feel like they're looking at an Escher drawing when looking at the Empire State Building? You got the Empire State leaning to the left, but the big building just south of its tip leans heavily to the right. I feel like I'm gonna fall over...

Image stitching (1)

imtheguru (625011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945460)

You got the Empire State leaning to the left, but the big building just south of its tip leans heavily to the right. I feel like I'm gonna fall over...

Image stitching

Re:Image stitching (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946118)

Image stitching

Really? How come I can't see the thread marks? Oh, I bet they're using something like fishing line...

Re:It's laugably easy! (2, Interesting)

megabunny (710331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945352)

It is actually easy to find candidates, but how about travelling to mexixo? http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=20.558767,-88.630174&spn=0.003541,0.005021&t=h&z=18&om=1 [google.ca] This could be anything, but an ancient structure is one of the possiblilities. MB

It's laugably easy! To make mistakes. (2, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946334)

t is actually easy to find candidates, but how about travelling to mexixo? http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=20.558767,-88.630174&spn=0.003541,0.005021&t=h&z=18&om=1 [google.ca] This could be anything, but an ancient structure is one of the possiblilities. MB

Going to Google Earth, which uses the same imagery... one finds multiple similiar sites in the general area, as well as the remains of roads. One also finds current roads, and recently logged areas, like this one [google.ca] (just a kilometer to the west of your site).
 
  Zooming out [google.ca] shows even more of the same type of site scattered across an large area (roughly 12 km on a side). (As well as clear indications of even more such sites in the area(s) adjacent that are only available in lower res.)
 
A few kilometers to the southwest, one comes upon a town [google.ca] clearly surrounded by many such sites.
 
Conclusion: Your site is almost certainly the remmnants of a logging operation or field clearing.

Re:It's laugably easy! (1)

jfuredy (967953) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946932)

That looks an awful lot like a logging footprint that is several years old. If you zoom out a little bit you can see many other similar scars in the vegetation. Although the straight line hills are more interesting to me.

weird building angles! (1)

aperion (1022267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945546)

ok.. there is something weird about those satellite images, and I don't understand why. Some building s you see the North and East sides of the building, some you see the North and West sides. Then some you see the south side of the building, yet (according to the maps view) these walls are parallel to each other.

I considered the possibility of two photos but I see no splice and the shadows are the same. I doubt there is anything wrong with the images, there just isn't something clicking on my brain...

Re:weird building angles! (2, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945890)

The weirdest thing about those satellite images is that they are NOT satellite images.

Many people are under the mistaken impression that Google Earth ONLY uses satellite images. That's simply untrue, and anyone who reads the GE FAQ would know this.

Those photos are aerial mapping photos produced by an airplane flying "tracks" across the city. They are then stitched together to form a mosaic, and since this was done with public funds the images are available to google earth for a modest fee. Seattle has similar images.

Any time you see the sides of an object on google earth it is NOT a satellite photo.

Re:weird building angles! (1)

aperion (1022267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946204)

well that explains it, so I'm really not crazy, they just do a good stitch job :) and I would not have known about this since I do not use GE, just google maps.

Re:It's laugably easy! (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945864)

Thanks for the laugh. Slowly zooming out to see where the roads were, I zoomed out further and noticed this giant white splotch in NW Utah. What's that? Is that whole area just perpetually snowy?

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&t=h&q=United+States&ie=UTF8&om=1&ll=39.044786,-111.192627&spn=7.497841,10.964355&z=7 [google.com]

Re:It's laugably easy! (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945956)

The Bonneville Salt Flats. [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's laugably easy! (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946432)

Thanks. Being a car guy, I've heard of them, I just never knew they were *that* big.

Re:It's laugably easy! (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948062)

As someone mentioned -- the Salt Flats. In other odd structures, if you scroll NW to Idaho, that big black blotch is the famous lava outcropping.

One day I was wandering thru some forested area not "far" north of there, and came across images of a forest fire in progress!

Dunno about now (being too lazy to look) but an oddity last year re Devil's Lake, North Dakota: If you were zoomed well out, you got summer images -- green fields and open water. But if you zoomed in, you got winter -- all snow covered, with the lake totally iced up. Does Google own a time machine we don't know about? :)

Re:It's laugably easy! (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947986)

Contrary to myth, they didn't use stone tablets and chisels back then -- cuz if you look a bit to the left of that Sphinx, you'll see an LED-sign ad for Motorola's booth at NetWorld+Interop.

Michael Crichton had the idea in 1980's Congo (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944410)

"Yes." She pointed to the screen. "But don't be deceived by what you see here. This satellite image covers fifty thousand square kilometers of jungle. Most of it has never been seen by white men. It's hard terrain, with visibility limited to a few meters in any direction. An expedition could search that area for years, passing within two hundred meters of the city and failing to see it. So I needed to narrow the search sector. I decided to see if I could find the city."

Find the city? From satellite pictures?

"Yes," she said. "And I found it."

Re:Michael Crichton had the idea in 1980's Congo (2, Insightful)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945776)

Yes, but the difference is that we're not limiting the people viewing the pictures to Jane Goodall. That's the social point here -- getting the data is tricky, but sifting through it is simple enough. That's why many scientists guard their data carefully before publication I suppose; they don't want someone else beating them to the discoveries.

Re:Michael Crichton had the idea in 1980's Congo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946358)

That's a good point, a major plot point of that novel was the fierce competition and industrial espionage between the two companies, ERTS and The Consortium.

Michael Crichton ripped this idea off. (4, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946124)

The first usage of aerial photography for archaeological purposes dates back into the 1920's. Using aerial photography and radar for searching out sites of archaeological interest was covered in National Geographic back in the 1950's. I remember seeing in my dad's photogrammetry magazines from the 1960's, aerial photography services specifically advertising their availability for archaeological surveys. (As well as multiple articles in the magazines on that very topic.) A book of NASA terrestrial photography I own from the 1970's dedicates an entire chapter to the usage of satellite photography for archaeological purposes.
 
At best, Crichton independently reinvented a technique already well known in professional circles.

That's nothing... (4, Funny)

pmike_bauer (763028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944534)

...google earth now finds your keys

date of the satellite images (1, Funny)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944546)

The reason why these archaeologists are having so much success is because Google's satellite imagery is ancient!

I mean, rather than seeing some roads near my house all I see is dirt and trees!

Next movie in the series (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944652)

"Indiana Jones and the Blue Screen of Death"

Exciting but... (0)

Morromist (1207276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945082)

Will this lead to sill more Google earth placemarks like:

Metitor

11/15/06 09:32 PM
The Meterior that killed the dinasurs impacted here.
-TreySpooner

37*10'40N
151*06'07W

OR

Bloody town???

            09/17/06 03:33 PM
But what is this?? It can't be a bad resolution!! and the sand can't be red...or yes??? I don't know
God bless the USA & Spain
-USfer

29*14'36N
41*26'46E

Re:Exciting but... (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945694)

I think it's time for WikiGoogleEarthipedia.com

Re:Exciting but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946796)

Try www.wikimapia.org

What about atlantis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21945182)

There maybe Ancient cities on other planets, Maybe in the Pegasus galaxy.

My lost socks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21945472)

If Google Earth can find the socks I lose each week doing laundry, then they might have something!!!

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21945634)

Google Earth finds YOU.

I wish I could get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21945650)

I wish I could get Google earth to work on my comp. It gets stuck on initializing.

1 year old news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21945882)

Quite precisely one year ago there was a piece on PBS NOVA ScienceNOW [pbs.org] about uncovering mayan ruins on satellite images.

Kansas (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21945972)

Have them check the results for Kansas. This'll reveal whether there ever WAS civilization there and possibly when it disappeared...

Re:Kansas (1)

Kris_B_04 (883011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947064)

hey! I resemble that remark!

Wait! ....

ah, never mind.. ;)

Hunt for Osama - OSS/Google mashup (1)

pmike_bauer (763028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946690)

Next on Google Eearth...
Find Osama!

Taking a page from OSS philosophy, "with many eyeballs, all hiding places become shallow"

Re:Hunt for Osama - OSS/Google mashup (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947990)

Find Osama!

It won't help. The last time this happened we got:

Argument for some time about who would go in, catch him and get the credit.

The CIA winning the argument but not having the resources for a large military option they subcontracted to some locals they had met recently.

The US military forces on the ground shipped away to wait for the attack on Iraq.

The CIA finally going in with a lot of press on standby ready to declare a victory to find that Osama had walked away after the US military forces had withdrawn.

This sort of stupid incompetance really feeds the conspiracy theorists - they cannot imagine how such a major effort with so many people involved can go wrong so badly.

Less glorious than it sounds, but... (5, Interesting)

CuriousCuller (1198941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946782)

any technology such as this is invaluable to us archaeologists. You see, these days archaeologists are loath to put their WHS trowels in the ground for a simple reason: archaeology is the unrepeatable experiment. Unlike most sciences, you cannot go back and recover from any mistakes. Once it's up, it's up and that's the end of that. Untold valuable sites have been irreparable screwed up by previous clumsy excavations and thousands of artefacts have horribly degraded due to us not really understanding the conversation process. It's really only a miracle of fate that Howard Carter found Tutankhamen's tomb when he did - a few years before and most what of he discovered would be remembered to us only by grainy sepia photographs. Still, even with the reasonably modern techniques and equipment at his disposable a lot of damage was done and like a forensic site, much of the evidence has been contaminated.

Archaeological investigations these days tend to be for emergency purposes. Or in layman's terms, someone's building a motorway through an iron age hill (as in Ireland), or someone found a Roman bathhouse while pile driving the foundations for an office block. To be fair the latter shouldn't happy as archaeologists are normally called in to do a preliminary investigation before construction, at least in archaeological sensitive places such as London, Paris etc. It's pretty hard to get money for pure archaeology now. Mostly because governments would rather fund other, more pragmatic research fields and secondly because modern archaeologists are a squeamish bunch - if something's sat in situ for two millennia without any problems it can afford to wait a decade or more until adequate funding and a conservation strategy are in place. Nowadays most of the glory is going to the geophys guys and not Indiana Jones.

For this reason any methods which can provide any insight, no matter how small, are gaining ground. Really, despite what most people think of archaeologists we're not treasure hunters. We're trying to piece together the past piece by piece. What we're looking for is not lost cities, but rather more mundane artefacts like field boundaries, foundations, lost turnpike roads between settlements etc. Google Earth maybe good at this sort of thing, maybe even for smaller structures too and maybe very handy when trying to piece together larger landscapes. You're probably not going to find Eldorado though.

Re:Less glorious than it sounds, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947678)

thousands of artefacts have horribly degraded due to us not really understanding the conversation process.

I'm speechless.

Re:Less glorious than it sounds, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21948254)

Brainless, too.

You've got to be kidding me. (1)

Porchroof (726270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947134)

There's no way Google Earth can be used to see ancient footpaths, cemteries, buildings and cities.

When I try to view my house in Google Earth I can't even see the village that the house is in.

The only recognizable features are large blurry blobs and some of the small blobs.

If ancient people lived in blurry blobs, then Google Earth may be of some help.

Re:You've got to be kidding me. (1)

Thuktun (221615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947924)

There's no way Google Earth can be used to see ancient footpaths, cemteries, buildings and cities. When I try to view my house in Google Earth I can't even see the village that the house is in. The only recognizable features are large blurry blobs and some of the small blobs. If ancient people lived in blurry blobs, then Google Earth may be of some help.
Have you bothered to look elsewhere? The world is bigger than your village.

There are many areas that have really great resolution. Other areas, not so much. It's a large planet and previous surveys have prioritized their images.
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