Researchers in Jordan are using custom-made drones in an effort to protect archeological sites. Robbing antiques and looting are serious problems at archeological sites. It is funneling money into the black market and only exasperated in areas by high unemployment.
Previously, researchers would use balloons to survey areas, but it is not an efficient method to detect disturbed archeological sites that have been looted. Researchers in Jordan working on archeological sites needed something more efficient and durable. They ended up making their own drone to survey the archeological areas.
Drones Helping to Combat Theft of Artifacts
Drones are helping combat the theft of artifacts with the help of dedicated researchers in Jordan. They are using their homemade drones to map the area and take real time video and images. Their drone is a small six blade drone with a camera attached. The images are used to determine newly looted archeological sites. From this information, they have a general idea of what they should see popping up on the black market. The researchers start tracing these items back to the buyers, and hopefully one day, the actual looters.
The drones are able to fly over large areas that is physically impossible to map on foot on a regular basis. Drones are slowly replacing kites and balloons in archeology for mapping areas. As cameras get better, the technology for archeologists will get better and allow for a more detailed mapping of areas. Hopefully in the future, the drones will allow the researchers to begin stopping looting before it happens. The sooner they can recognize a disturbance in part of a site, the sooner the researchers can begin tracking the items.
High Unemployment Rate is The Main Cause For Theft
Unfortunately, even with the best drones in the market, the problem of looting won’t get better. In the area, the unemployment rate is high and many young people have resorted to looting. They are paid pennies on the dollar for priceless artifacts. In some cases the looters are paid less than $20 for artifacts sold for a quarter of a million dollars. What is happening in these archeological sites is not right, but the cycle will continue. With no jobs, people will resort to theft in order to live, but drones will help to at least lessen the extent of looting.