Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Scientists Expand Archaeology Via Satellites

From time to time, I see arguments against the Book of Mormon that go something like this: 

"Scientists and archaeologists already know everything there is to know about ancient cultures and have excavated everything. There is no possibility of anything corroborating the Book of Mormon's claims." 

That is a gross over-generalization, but I don't have the time or patience to re-create them all.

Speaking of gross over-generalizations, here's proof that such statements are just that.

Archaeologists now use LiDAR, which is a remote
sensing technology that measures distance
by illuminating a target with a laser
and analyzing the reflected light.

Pioneer in Satellite Archaeology Wins Million-Dollar Prize 

"With each new batch of images, it becomes increasingly clear that archaeologists have vastly underestimated the size and scale of past human settlements. “What we’re finding is that everywhere you look there are sites,” says Parcak. “Massive sites are turning out to be many times bigger and more complex than we ever imagined.” Parcak estimates that less than 1 percent of ancient Egypt has been discovered and excavated."
Another hole in this over-generalization is that it ignores the effects of looting, not only in our time but over the centuries that preceded us. Who knows how many precious evidences of Israelites in America and the remnants of scattered tribes elsewhere have been stolen, destroyed, or redistributed out of their historical context so that we'll never know where they came from? The article talks about this as well.
"Satellite images have also revealed the accelerating scale of looting at sites around the world—particularly in Egypt, where civil order broke down during the revolution in 2011. According to Parcak, images made from space can be used to track the destruction of archeological sites and could be part of a coordinated effort to reverse the tide of looting and illegal antiquities trafficking."
But, satellite images won't be enough.
"Of course any discoveries made by these high-flying cameras will still need to be confirmed by archeologists working on the ground with trowels and sifting screens. The notion that there will always be a place for old-fashioned digging and discovery is one that Parcak finds comforting."
Book of Mormon naysayers lack imagination and initiative. They like to point at the library or university and say "those guys said they have the answers, so I don't need to know anything else". People like Parcak are the complete opposite of that, and thank goodness God has placed them on Earth.
“After teaching and working in the lab most of the year, I really need to get out in the field,” she says. “If my dirt-to-blood ratio gets below a certain threshold, I go completely bonkers.”