AI in Archeology: How New Technology is Revolutionizing Historical Studies

May 9, 2024

When you consider archeology, your first thought may be of the ancient Egyptian tombs set deep within the pyramids of Giza, or an unearthed dinosaur fossil from millions of years ago. For some, archeology may seem like an antiquated career from a past time when modern technology hadn't yet reached what it is today. But would you be surprised to learn that today’s technology is being used to help inform this still prevalent field of study? It’s true — archeology is beginning to see more and more AI incorporated into all aspects of its processes. From predicting the locations of ancient settlements to reconstructing fragmented artifacts to using dig site logistics, science from both the past and the present are meeting in new ways to revolutionize our understanding of history.

How AI is Used in Archeological Studies

Recent advancements showcase how AI is becoming an integral tool in archeological studies. Gone are the days of relying solely on manual excavation techniques, as archeologists of today are leveraging AI in various avenues of their work. One of the most notable applications of AI in archeology is identifying overlooked archeological sites. Much like the technology being used in construction management, archeologists are analyzing satellite imagery, utilizing digital twin and laser technology, and incorporating big data into neural networks – massive databases of geological information for predictive studies. From “creating 3D models of historical sights to scanning territories with a laser radar to find ancient graves,” AI algorithms can pinpoint potential sites that may have gone previously unnoticed or are inaccessible to humans. This was seen in a recent study involving dig sites in Mesopotamia where AI identified, within 80 percent accuracy, new areas of interest that could shed light on lost ancient civilizations.

AI in Deciphering Ancient Texts

Moreover, AI is revolutionizing the way in which ancient texts are deciphered and translated. In a groundbreaking venture, a 21-year-old researcher employed AI algorithms to decode a portion of text from a scroll that had remained unread for over 2,000 years and is believed to be related to Julius Caesar. The word “porphyras,” which is ancient Greek for “purple,” was one of the few forms of text visible on a scroll so old and charred that it could not be unrolled without irreversible damage. This remarkable achievement not only demonstrates the power of AI, but also highlights the collaborative nature of archeological research within this evolving technology.

AI for Preserving & Restoring Artifacts

For the preservation and restoration of archeological artifacts, AI is also being used. In Italy, AI-driven robots are repairing delicate artworks unearthed from a site in Pompeii through a collaboration called “RePAIR” launched in 2021. The AI software was developed to decode artifacts based on size, shape, and design, and a specially crafted robot then pieces together found objects with precision, accuracy, and delicacy. Thus, this fusion of methodology underscores AI and archeology's evolving nature and its commitment to safeguarding humanity's cultural heritage with mindful creativity.

The Evolution of Archeological Science and AI

The integration of AI into archeology represents a paradigm shift in how we explore and interpret our collective history. No longer confined to the realm of dusty relics and ancient texts, archeology is embracing a new era within the digital age. And as AI technology continues to advance, so will our ability to unearth the mysteries of civilizations long gone. The relationship between archeology and AI is poised to help better inform this past, and as AI algorithms become more sophisticated and accessible, it holds the potential to enhance every area of archeological inquiry and beyond.

Exploring a Career in AI

AI has many applications within the field of not only archeology, but across all areas of study. AI technology can be adapted to become a useful tool for many fields, which makes it a very in-demand skill. At Capitol Technology University, we offer a B.S. in AI – the first of its kind in Maryland, as well as many other graduate and doctoral offerings, to help students learn how to use and manage AI. Students are also invited to join our AI Center of Excellence to become part of a group of leaders, innovators, and industry professionals that are driving transformative advancements for the betterment of society and the ethical use of AI.

Contact us for more information on leading the charge for AI evolution!