Old Meets New as iPad Becomes Essential Tool for… Archeaology!


My background is in archaeology. Long before I became interested in theology or moved heavily into tech, I loved excavating.  I worked on a dig on the Mediterranean Cost when I was 17 and spent two summers excavating the ruins of a major city in the Galilee. Yes, my favorite fictional character was and remains Indiana Jones.


This is a Roman house we excavated during one of the dig seasons. (And yes, that is me… a long, long time ago.)

During one of the summers were excavating in the Galilee, there was a second team of archaeologists digging in a different part of the city. It was the mid-1980s, and they were trying something new… radar. Yup, they had a large box that they would pass over areas of the site which shot radar into the ground and helped them map out some of the larger structures buried beneath the surface. It wasn’t new technology, but it was one of the first times the technology was being used in this way. Why was it useful? Here’s why…

After a day or two of digging in a rich site, if you were lucky, you might find something like this…


Those are the tops of walls revealing the outline of a structure. After a few more days of digging the entire structure would be revealed.

Like this…


But that is assuming you started digging in the proper place and, most of the time, there was NO indication on the surface of what was below. The radar made it possible to see the various walls before the shovel even touched the ground. It was a huge step forward.


That’s why seeing the iPad being used in the ongoing excavation of Pompeii, for me, is just amazing. Being able to pull up the entire map of the site, record data as you uncover it etc., has to be a huge time-saver AND a great way to ensure that all the information is recorded accurately. I, for one, wish we had these when I was actively digging.

But one question remains… We started our dig days at 5:30 am and were back at our camp (a residential school during the year) by noon, because by that point the temperature was well over 100 degrees each and every day. It was just too hot to excavate mid-afternoon. I have to wonder how on earth we could have used iPads since, I suspect, they would be displaying the overheating screen constantly. 😉

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4 replies

  1. RT @GearDiarySite Old Meets New as iPad Becomes Essential Tool for… Archeaology! http://goo.gl/fb/hFGWG

  2. RT @geardiary: Old Meets New as iPad Becomes Essential Tool for… Archeaology! #Apple iPad #Offbeat http://bit.ly/c9wze6

  3. Old Meets New as iPad Becomes Essential Tool for… Archeaology! http://goo.gl/fb/XzpkP #ipad


  1. iPad at Work – with Archeologists at Pompeii