Travelling is an expensive hobby which many people cannot allow themselves to do. However, in this information era, more and more people have access to some internet service, either via a mobile device or a personal computer. With Nokia developing cheap smart phones aimed at the African market, were many people may not have access to an ADSL line, and with people purchasing more and more mobile devices, accessibility to online sources has increased.
Google Earth and Maps has provided access to the entire world via satellite imagery. This can be used by archaeologists to find promising areas for excavation. You don’t, however, have to be an archaeologist to enjoy the archaeological information provided by Google. Simply by having internet access and a browser you can become a virtual explorer of the world.
You can use Google’s services to walk through documented archaeological sites (as shown in two of my previous posts relating to the interactive views of Pompeii and Teotihuacan0). You can also use the satellite images to view archaeological sites from above, and even to find promising places for future archaeological excavations (nothing stops you from speculating ;), but please do not go there and start excavating unless you are an archaeologist with a permit to do so). You can browse photographs of an area by using the specific location that you want to view and, lastly, you can even join a game (yes, a game I will discuss below).
Check this article out. It describes various uses of Google Earth for archaeology and it even mentions a game where aerial photographs of archaeological sites are uploaded and people must guess where the site is. It sounds fun 🙂
Want to start exploring but don’t know where to start? Here is a nice website which allows you to view their Google Earth map where various archaeological sites have been marked. You can even contribute and add archaeological sites that you are aware of to the map in order for other people to see them. I recommend that you “view larger map” so that you can more easily interact with the map and use the Google map tools (such as the little “street view” man on the left).
Happy exploring 🙂