Google Earth: Inspiration and Instrument for the Study of Ancient Civilizations

Jaroslav Klokočník, Jan Kostelecký, Karel Pavelka


Satellite imaging is well known as a useful tool in many scientific disciplines and various applications.  Google Earth, with its free access, is now - thanks to increasing resolution and precision - such a tool. It can be very inspiring. It improves the visualization and dissemination of scientific data, and opens doors to new discoveries. For example, many Nasca geoglyphs are now visible to Google Earth and so are the orientations of Chinese pyramids, which appear to be laid out with the aid of a magnetic compass. Google Earth also infor-med us about the “new” archaeological locality Atzompa close to the well known “Monte Alban” near Oaxaca (Mexico), which we then visited (in March 2010). Google Earth can also “see” prehistoric causeways in Mesoamerica, “sacbeob” and in the Chaco valley (New Mexico). We find that Google Earth can save time and resources to researches significantly: before, during and after field works and measurements; we present examples.


Google Earth, Nasca geoglyphs and petroglyphs (Peru), Chinese “pyramids”(Xi'an and Luoyang, central China), Monte Alban - Atzompa (Mexico), ancient roads (Yucatán, Mexico, Chaco valley, New Mexico).


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