Scientists have used satellite images to locate previously-unkown human settlements in Syria. Harvard archeologist Jason Ur and MIT computer scientist Bjoern Menze have combined spy-satellite photos acquired during the 1960s with modern images of the Earth’s surface, and thus have devised a new method of mapping patterns of human settlements at an unprecedented scale. They recently used their new technique to map upwards of 14,000 previously overlooked settlements, distributed over 23,000 square kilometers of Mesopotamian landscape. Their method of aerial analysis relies on the detection of anthrosol, a distinctive type of soil that forms in the presence of long-term human activity. Read the full story on io9.com.
Published on April 17, 2012