It is generally imagines looked at their discovery, a toothbrush in hand rubbing gently, yet archaeologists are always particularly quick to appropriate the technical advances, a trend even more pronounced with the advent of new technologies . In order to verify the theory of British archaeologist suggesting that Queen Nefertiti can be buried in a secret chamber of the tomb of Tutankhamun, Egypt announced this week that it would conduct further analyzes with “radar” sophisticated and “thermal imaging”. This is one of the examples of the trend, more and more pronounced, archaeologists use the latest technology
“We use two methods. One measuring thermal changes of surfaces, the the other with an electronic scintillator that captures muons (elementary particle with properties similar to the electron, Ed) and can reveal if there are voids in the structure, “explains Mehdi Tayoubi, president of the Institute who HIP thermal surveys conducted in four Egyptian pyramids, including that of Cheops.
The technique is actually a diversion because at the origin it had been developed in Japan to measure radiation radioactivity, following the accident of Fukushima nuclear plant.
Scanner, drones, laser or GPS positioning, 3D scanning, multiple uses are archeology and allow for considerable time savings in the study sites, which often are to disappear to make way for new construction.
“The use of the laser allows us to reduce the duration of a field survey in half a day, against four or five days before. With 3D, we have a very rapid recovery of our stratigraphic layers and elements that we find ourselves, it allows us to continue to study the environment even after the excavations, “explains Frédéric Blase, archaeologist at the National Research Institute Preventive Archaeology (INRAP).
The explosion of such use leads universities to integrate into their curriculum, like the Paris-Sorbonne University, which has established with the Quai Branly Museum a Discovery technical seminar open to students of his masters
archeology. “The aim is to train students in the use of new technologies in archeology of” every day “, not only on exceptional sites,” explains Nathalie Ginoux, lecturer at Paris-Sorbonne University .
Drones to protect sites
“We allow students to discover new technologies concretely, with explanations on the part of users, this allows raise awareness of all these tools, “adds Christophe Moulherat, Quai Branly.
University went even further, by establishing a platform of digital tools unprecedented in France, that is to say, machines available to its researchers and students teachers. “We launched a call for projects with students in master to encourage them to use the tools and train interdisciplinary teams around their research subjects,” says Gregory Chaumet, in charge of the platform.
Gonna happen however abandon learning classical methods of analysis in the field: “Students continue to draw in pencil, making stone by stone statements because they are methods that facilitate the analysis by observation time real, “said Nathalie Ginoux.
Beyond the same study sites, new technologies also allow the preservation, including through surveillance against theft and damage.
In Peru, the Ministry Culture is well equipped with a fleet of drones that allows it to map all of the sites and to act before urban development does not come to destroy them.
“We have a fleet of nine drones that allow us to know the real state sites and catalog them. We have over 100,000 sites in the country and know only 10% of them. The use of drones we can quickly get information about them and see any damage they may have suffered, “says Aldo Watanave, the Ministry of Culture.
They even become a tool for communication, particularly through 3D modeling. “This will look for sponsors and sponsorship, it is always easier with beautiful pictures,” admits Nathalie Ginoux