Saturday, April 26, 2014

6 Archaeology Tools Indiana Jones Could Have Used

Entire generations were inspired by Indiana Jones to join the field of archaeology. They were quick to learn, however, that real-life excavating and ground surveying doesn't involve bullwhips. Here are six tools that the good doctor should have used instead.

1: Mattocks

Many laymen have images of archaeologists using tiny trowels and brushes on surface-level dig sites, but the truth is that excavations usually go deep into the ground. Reaching buried treasure often takes the strength and the force of a heavy mattock. You wouldn't think to look at them, but archeologists can pack some pretty impressive biceps under all that tweed!

2: Mapping Devices

Mapping devices are used on surveying sites to record things like topography, landscapes, dig zones and artifact locations. While they can't find things on their own, they're invaluable in recognizing and noting the location for future researchers. Indy wouldn't have had to rely on "X" marking the spot if he'd just used a mapping device!

3: Soil Sifters

You never know what you'll find in soil deposits, which is why it's important for archaeologists to comb through every pinch of dirt and every grain of sand. Not only can sifters rescue small, hard-to-see pieces of broken artifacts, but they'll occasionally catch minerals and fossils that can also help determine the age of the site in question.

4: Ground Modeling Software

These computer programs can take a one-dimensional model of the earth and extrapolate potential burial and artifact sites based on subsurface geology. All they need are the site's electrical resistivity readings! Learn more about earth imagers by clicking here.

5: GPS

Before GPS existed, archaeologists were forced to rely on resistivity meters and sheer dumb luck in order to discover culturally significant dig sites. These days, two seconds on a GPS device can accomplish what old-school archaeologists took years to determine. Technology really does make everything better.

6: Magnetometers

Magnetometers find underground artifacts and landscapes by measuring disruptions in the earth's magnetic fields. They're extremely important tools of geophysical research, so of course Indiana Jones had no use for them at all. His lack of preparation is probably why he ran into so many booby traps!

These are six tools that would've come in handy if Indy had been a real archaeologist and not just a vaguely nerdy-looking adventurer. It's okay to like his movies, but just remember that in real life, crystal caves don't contain aliens.

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