Drones unearth more details about Chaco culture

Updated: 04/27/2014 1:44 PM | Created: 04/27/2014 10:39 AM
By: The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Long before the picks and shovels come out, there's a new tool that could help scientists shed light on archaeological mysteries long buried by eroding desert landscapes from the American Southwest to the Middle East.

Researchers from the University of Arkansas and the University of North Florida teamed up last summer in New Mexico to test a customized drone outfitted with a heat-sensing camera in an area called Blue J, just south of Chaco Canyon National Historical Park.

They recently published their findings, saying the remote-controlled drone was able to quickly scan the landscape, picking up on the heat signatures of stone architecture hidden under layers of sediment and sagebrush.

They discovered the outlines of what are believed to be ceremonial pits known as kivas and other features that could reshape archaeologists' understanding of Chaco's influence.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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