Article: 4 Ways Drones and AI Are Changing Archaeology

Society is constantly changing with rapid development of technology. One aspect that is influenced heavily by this continuous change is Artificial Intelligence (AI). The capabilities of AI to solve problems have increased to an extent that some problems even humans cannot solve anymore. We experience this daily in voice recognition, computer vision and video games.

Another field that is influenced by AI is archaeology. Archaeology, a discipline that studies ancient artifacts and architecture, can heavily benefit from this technology. Here are four ways drones and AI are changing archaeology.

1. 3D Models Development

With the aid of AI, it is possible to stitch together Geo-tagged photos to produce detailed 3D models. The 3D model provides an effective way for researchers to study archaeological sites. In addition, it is possible to convert these models into physical miniature structures using a 3D printer. These structures can be used to provide a tangible view of the sites in the real world.

2. Monitoring and Predicting Changes

Archaeological sites are constantly changing with time and weather conditions. AI could prove helpful in identifying and predicting these changes. The drone provides data on the changes the site exhibits which will be used to forecast future changes. As a result, archaeologists can apply preventive measures to reduce or even halt these changes. Moreover, this data could be used to improve models of how these sites originally looked.

3. Geological Analysis

Many of these heritage sites are built on or include interesting terrain. Archaeologists seek to comprehend the reasons behind the architecture and construction techniques used in these sites. AI accompanied with a drone could deliver comprehensive analysis on the rock types, geological features and elevation of objects present in the terrain. Such analysis helps solve inquiries and connect theories presented by archaeologist to further understand the structures on these sites.

4. Documenting and Discovering Unreachable Sites

Some archaeological sites are in distant places inaccessible by land, thus many of these sites are undocumented or very little is known about them. A drone offers a wide view of an entire site, identifies possible areas of interest and essentially reveals objects that are not clearly seen from ground level. This gives archaeologists a powerful tool to analyze and learn about places that were previously off-limits.

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