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Data Science in Archaeology

Archaeology is the science and art of studying ancient remains belonging to pre-historical times and connecting the relationships with respect to the environment, lifestyle, and habitat. We are seeing a rampant rise in the adoption of AI ML techniques to decipher history and understand how things were as if they were alive. While one is the study of old, the other is absolutely new — may be the most advanced science we have ever come across — together, they are transforming our understanding of ancient history with unprecedented accuracy. 

In this article, I will explain how you can club the two genuinely work to make life easy for archaeologists and paleontologists. 

A quick Overview of Data Science

Way back in 2012, data science made its entry into the list of “world’s sexiest jobs” and has slowly and steadily cemented its position among the Top 3 jobs that every professional should be eyeing within less than 10 years. In today’s world, there are endless possibilities and opportunities for professionals that pass out of a data science course in Bangalore. While we already covered a bulk of IT and ITES jobs that rely on data science, we have tons of others that are slowly accepting data science courses as the primary source of innovation. One of the new facets of data science application is “Archaeology”. Like in most other courses in Big Data and Data Science course, you need to have a background in working with Mathematics, Computer science, and statistics. A background in coding with R, C, and Python also helps. 

Understanding Science from the Lens of Archaeology

We have so many areas of application for AI ML and deep learning techniques. One of them is the science of understanding ancient scripts such as hieroglyphics and how they were used for communication. According to an expert Egyptologist, it took 20-25 years in the last century to translate one papyrus script. The final result was 10 minutes of verbal speech that turned out to be a decree on land laws in Egypt, 4000 years ago. 

It is an extremely difficult process to translate such scripts, especially if the syllables and consonants are misunderstood. But thanks to AI ML development in the last few years, we are now able to decode the ancient Egyptian language. Google launched that tool. Called Fabricius, this data science tool uses machine learning knowledge to translate various symbols in the Egyptian language into simple and contextual words and sentences. This has helped save hundreds of research works for archaeologists and Egyptologists. 

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Fabricius is an AI ML tool from Google that is now offered in the desktop version to Egyptologists, anthropologists, and historians, to support their research.


Carbon Dating

We have come a long way in carbon dating science to find the exact age of excavations and mummified remains. While we still use a traditional CD to determine the age of fossils and plant remains, there are many objects that don’t contain the necessary percentage of carbon-14 to understand the evolution of the timeline. In such cases, we use Machine Learning trained Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) Dating. 

Compared to simple CD training, a Machine Learning trained AMS dating has higher precision and needs small sample sizes, proving helpful in many new applications related to space research, biomedical research, and marine sciences research.

Using AMS dating, we have been able to determine the age of meteors and comet remains that struck Earth billions of years ago. 


Drones and Computer Vision

Drones can not only do aerial surveillance but also be used to fly into caves, into pyramid “dark zones” and underwater to extract information from places where humans can’t reach easily. But to operate them, we need a trained set of eyes and arms to prevent failures.

The role of UAVs and Drone-based LiDAR technologies have been used to plot maps and contours of ancient cities, flood lines, and river basins that once existed in the region. The use of computer vision, in particular, acts as a second pair of eyes for archaeologists and leverages the high-tech surveillance techniques to go deeper and farther than what they could ever achieve with bare eyes and empty hands. The new technologies built by the scientists with certification in data science course in Bangalore are providing zillions of information points for us to forecast the extent of old cities, find more fossils and develop unsupervised Machine Learning models to help with carbon dating, automated script translations, and so on.

There are monumental opportunities for Arts students to pursue a Data Science course in Bangalore.