An international team of researchers used radar scanning to map the ancient Roman city of Falerii Novi,media reported. It is understood that the researchers rode a four-axis bicycle equipped with geodesic radar instruments through the Italian countryside, 50km north of Rome’s capital Rome, to uncover the city’s secrets.
Through this use of new technology, archaeologists were able to uncover the secrets of ancient civilizations, whose cultures have in fact had a huge impact on the world we see.
Often, the passage of time and the relentless pace of human progress mask the vestiges of the past, making it difficult for modern scientists to excavate them. New buildings were built on existing archaeological sites, and over time, great cities lost the soil on which they once lived.
Archaeologists are now combining traditional field work with advanced technology to uncover the secrets lost on the ground. A very useful tool for history buffs is geo-exploration radar (GPR).
Geo-radar instruments work by emitting radio waves that can pass through objects and into the ground. These waves are reflected by objects or structures buried below the surface and then returned to the instrument. By recording the characteristics and timing of the echo, scientists can create an image of ancient monuments and unknown buildings.
Recent improvements to GPR technology have allowed scientists to conduct extensive surveys of archaeological sites to complement more detailed observations made by conducting excavations at traditional sites.
Archaeologists used a four-wheeled bicycle equipped with GPR instruments in the new study and then investigated the 30.5-hectare ruins of the ancient Roman city. In the end, the team collected 71.7 million readings, equivalent to about 4.5 GB of raw data per hectare.
The ancient city was said to have been built in 241 BC and occupied throughout Roman times until around 700 AD. It has been the subject of many archaeological investigations, but now the study has managed to obtain structures that exist within the city’s boundaries and are previously undiscovered.
It is understood the team eventually identified a column-shaped temple, a bathhouse and a market building on the west side of the city’s south gate.
Although these buildings are very common in some 2,000 Roman cities, some of the samples depicted in the Falerri Novi profile show that the design is unusually complex, especially given the size of the city.
Radar mapping eventually mapped a huge 90 x 40-meter paddock, with its three sides defined as a cover edgy channel with a central pillar. In this complex structure, a pair of structures are face-to-face. The researchers believe the paddock was once a huge public monument.
To the south of the city wall, the team identified a large rectangular building adjacent to the bath. In addition, the researchers found that the building was connected to the city’s aqueducts through a network of pipes that were located below the city block rather than crossing the street as expected. The pipes indicate that the building is likely to be a huge open-air pool.
The data also show that the city has suffered a history of looting, as the floors, surfaces and walls that once existed were completely removed.
Because a large amount of data was collected during the study, it took researchers a long time to complete their analysis of Falerri Novi. Currently, it takes about 20 hours to manually record an observation of one hectare. But the authors of the study believe that by using new automation techniques, the work can be done more quickly, and that GPR observations have good promise in archaeological research.