Following up on other recent posts on mapping and archaeology (NASA, July 19, and LIDAR, May 12), high-tech mapping and databases are being used to document and preserve archaeological sites and artifacts in the Middle East. The New York Times reports on a Getty Conservation Institute initiative to create a web-based database to document archaeological sites in Jordan (MEGA: Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities). In addition to documenting entire ancient cities such as Jerash, the database also lists individual features and finds. Individual data points can be located via Google Earth satellite images.
The concept behind this is to put field reports and critical information about possibly endangered sites in the hands of officials, allowing them easier and more efficient access to information on overwhelming numbers of sites and artifacts. Eventually the project hopes to expand to neighboring Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, all rich with archaeological heritage. Conceptually, this project could translate to anywhere in the world, given time, money and resources.
Of course more information on the web means more accessibility and knowledge. What further ramifications does this have for the archaeology and archaeometry communities?
Photo From Getty MEGA Website