Archeology is the study of ancient civilizations. This type of research is often carried out through field study and excavation. This can pose a problem because some archaeological sites are inhospitable for humans. A new technology may allow researchers to overcome this obstacle.
Extremely hot weather conditions made it difficult for David Mattingly, an archaeologist at the University of Leicester, to study an ancient civilization that lived in what is now the Sahara Desert of Southern Libya. The ancient civilization the Garmantes existed in 1,000 B.C.E. and declined after 700 C.E. It may have declined because of the lack of water, explained Mattingly.
To uncover more about how the Garmantes used the land, Mattingly used drones, unmanned aircraft often used by the military. Drones were a big help because they can take pictures of the geographic area from high above, so Mattingly's team would not have to deal with extreme the weather conditions to find answers.
Through analyzing the images taken by drones Mattingly was able to locate 158 major settlements, 184 cemeteries, 30 square kilometers of fields, and a variety of irrigation systems used by the Garmantes.