"U2 Spy Plane Photos and Archaeology in the Middle East" with Dr. Emily Hammer

Thursday, October 24, 2019 The event started -495 days ago

7:30 PM 8:30 PM

Wilson Hall


Dr. Emily Hammer, University of Pennsylvania
"U2 Spy Plane Photos and Archaeology in the Middle East"

Declassified military imagery from planes and satellites plays an important role in landscape and environmental archaeology. The identification of ancient sites, fortifications, road networks, and irrigation networks in modern satellite images, like those viewable in Google Earth, is limited by the degree to which these features have survived the destructive effects of development and intensive agriculture. Historic imagery sources, especially large imagery archives generated by the US during the Cold War, provide archaeologists with a window into the past, before these processes took hold in many rural areas. In the mid-late 1990s, the archaeology of arid regions in Eurasia was revolutionized by the declassification of CORONA “spy satellite” photographs showing large swaths of the region in high-resolution, as they appeared in 1967-1972. Now Eurasian archaeology has even older high-resolution historical imagery: photos from U2 spy planes captured 1958-1960. Using this new data source has required considerable detective work in the National Archives. A wide variety of datasets allow for a better understanding of the environmental distribution of prehistoric hunting traps (“desert kites”) in eastern Jordan and the size of the early Mesopotamian city of Ur and its ancient water supplies.
Free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the AIA - North Alabama Society


College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Art Art History and Design
Public, Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni


Ilene Galloway 256.824.6114 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Wilson Hall

301 Sparkman DriveHuntsville, AL 35899

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