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Archaeologists increasingly are capable

of using tools that were not necessarily


developed for archaeology.
But they can allow us to see things on
different levels and really make use of
them and play with them.
Some of these tools are, in fact,
available to everyone.
This is something you can do from your
computer.
Satellite imagery is one of these tools
that archaeologists use quite a bit.
And, you know, in early days,
archaeologists used aerial images.
Being able to see things and plan is very
useful.
But with the advent of satellite imagery,
we can really take this to a new level.
And you'll see, I hope that Google Earth
is in fact an incredibly powerful tool
for archaeologist.
We can use it to look on global, regional
and even very minute level.
This is something I would encourage you
to do at home.
I'm going to walk to the screen so I can
navigate a look at Egypt using Google
Earth.
That means I will be in silhouettes but I
think it will be a lot more effective if
I can point out to you exactly how to use
this tool.
So Egypt of course is located on the
eastern side on the southern side of the
Mediterranean.
So we can zoom in on Egypt and stop about
here and you can start to see how the
land of Egypt really interacts with its
own geography.
You can see here we're in the Sahara
northern Africa which is this completely
arid zone now and has been for the last
several 1000 years.
And it is cut by this basically north
south ribbon of green that is the Nile
and the cultivated land around the Nile.
You can see also that Egypt, the
cultivated land of Egypt is divided into
different regions.
There are 3 basic regions.
We have the upper Egyptian Nile valley in
the South.
We have the Faiyum, which is a depression
almost like an oasis off to the West here
with a lake and a great deal of irrigated
land.
Now we have the delta, where the Nile
fans out and hits the Mediterranean.
The largest and most agriculturally
productive area in Egypt.
We zoom towards the site that I'm working
at in southern Egypt and upper Egypt.
And you can stop here.
And you can start to see the interaction
between the river and the cultivated
land.
So you can see, here's the Nile snaking
back and forth.
The Nile is not actually in a static
position it has moved over time over the
millennia shifting back and fourth across
this ribbon cutting if you go longer even
the millennia if you go back 10's of
thousands of years cutting the value
within which the Nile is now found.
Now, anciently and in fact up until the
1960's when a dam was built in Southern
Egypt the Nile flooded its banks every
year for several months.
And it was the waters of this inundation
that powered Egyptian agriculture.
You can still see using google earth
exactly what the boundary of this flood
was.
The line between the cultivated land and
the desert is exactly that line where the
flood reached and you can stand, you
literally can stand with one foot in the
desert and one foot on the green in
Abydos.
But Google Earth again is a great tool
for making this really, really clear.
Now if we zoom in again even more we're
going to go to the Bay of Abydos, you can
stop here and see this.
The cliffs, the line of the high cliffs,
the cliffs that go to the high desert is
clear here.
And you can see sort of a scalloped area
here, the Nile up in the, in the
distance.
But this area, this low desert, defined
by the bay of the cliffs on this side and
then to the North East of the line of the
cultivation.
This is the Bay of Abydos, this is where
the monuments that were associated with
ancient Abydos are all found all in this
one little area.
I should say too that Google Earth is
very good for tracking recent changes in
the geography and you can see these
fields out in what really is the low
desert proper.
These are all very modern additions, so
is this line here, that represents the
original line of the cultivation and the
line of the inundation.
As we zoom even closer in we can see,
lets stop here.
We even see actually the monuments of
Abydos, again both ancient and modern.
So you can see where the modern villages
are.
But you can also see here, probably the
most famous monument of Abydos, the
temple build by Seti the First.
The father of Ramesses the Great.
You can see it's mud brick house store
houses which pop up as a dark series of
parallel lines.
And then the white of the limestone of
the temple itself.
And that is a standing monument that you
can visit in Abydos today.
You can also see where the archeologists
live.
Here's the German house, and the American
house.
And if we slide up a little bit to the
North.
You can see some of the area that I'm
working on.
For instance, here we have the remains of
a mud brick temple, that is also a
standing monument.
It's mud brick, it's the oldest standing
monument in the world, that's something
over 4,600 years old, still stands to 10
meters high.
So that's really big, of course you can
see that with Google Earth, but if you
zoom in even farther up into this area
you can see things.
That are not really visible even from the
ground.
So here we have a monument, this is still
a standing monument.
If you stop here however, you can see a
depression in the ground.
You cannot see this easily from the
ground.
That is a rectangle much the same scale
as this building.
And that is in fact, the remains of a
trench that was dug around a now missing
temple, for the internment of sacrificial
burials next to one of these.
So both in terms of seeing what's very
easily seen from the ground, and in terms
of seeing the patterns over, over areas,
larger areas, and even some things that
are invisible to the naked eye, Google
Earth can be a wonderful way of setting
archaeology in context.
It's really a great tool to play with.
So in addition to a great tool and a
great toy for understanding archaeology,
Google Earth can actually be an important
tool of discovery as well.
And to illustrate this I'm going to take
you to another site that I've been
working at, also in the Nile valley.
This is an area that for many years we
thought we had lost archaeologically.
In the 1960s the Egyptians built a dam to
control the flooding of the Nile, and
also to provide hydroelectric power, and
the waters that backed up behind this dam
created what is now known as Lake Nasser.
You can see this on the Nile in this
region here.
Now we knew that this was going to flood
archaeological land and in impact the
campaigns of the 1960's which were
undertaken under the direction of UNESCO
and which involved many countries around
the world.
Its one of the most intensive
archaeological campaigns that was ever
conducted but of course once these sites
here were flooded there was information
that was lost.
Really no archeologists have returned to
this area for quite a long time.
Only very recently within the last couple
of years it's been discovered that some
of the sites that we thought were lost
are still there.
And in fact, I have started a new
excavation with a colleague of mine at
the University of Vienna, Christian
Knoblauch to look at a site called
Uronarti.
Uronarti which was thought to be lost.
So we're now going to fly into the Nile,
down in the Sudan, south of Egypt.
Again, if you stop here, you can see that
the Sudanese now, here we're at the very
tail end of Lake Nasser.
But in fact the, so the, the river's a
little bit wider here than it would have
been in ancient times.
But you can already see how different the
character of the Nile is in this part of
the Sudan than up in Egypt.
You'll note that we don't have here the
wide flood plain.
And this absolutely had an effect on how
people lived in this area in the past.
This area of the Sudan never supported
the same type of population that things
farther north in Egypt did.
So this was never an incredibly
intensively populated area.
There were local populations.
The reason that this area is of such
interest archaeologically is because of
the small local Nubian population came in
to contact with the Egyptians here.
In many periods Egyptian forces, Egyptian
imperial forces really conquered this
area of the Sudan.
So as we zoom in on Uronarti itself, we
can see this once lost, now re-found,
evidence of this imperialism in one
period.
And we see here, if you zoom in even a
little bit more, the remains of a
monumental fortress which was built by
the Egyptian kings of the Twelth Dynasty
when they were controlling this region of
Nubia.
Really using it, exploiting it for its
natural resources, especially gold.
And they had massively fortified military
settlements up in here.
You can see this again this is this is
completely visible via Google Earth but
no one visited it for decades and
decades.