Move Over Pompeii

We've long known about Pompeii, the ancient Roman town marvelously preserved after it was buried in lava from the 79 C.E. eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. But there's another ancient city that has withstood the test of time in a more precarious position.

University of Nottingham's Jon Henderson is hurrying to put together a mission to digitally map the nearly 4,000-year-old Greek town of Pavlopetri, before there's nothing left to record. 


The town sits under three to four meters of water not far off the Greek coast. Its preserved streets and buildings date back to at least 2800 B.C.E., and its more recent graves date to the Mycenaean period--the Bronze Age of Homeric lore.

No archaeologists have worked at the site in four decades, but Pavlopetri is close to popular tourist areas making it susceptible to damage from snorkelers and boats in addition to the slow wear and tear of seawater.

Henderson has permission from the Greek government to make his dig--er, dive--and he has the technology. His team will use acoustic scanners to map the ruins of the town. Firms attempting offshore energy exploration originally developed these mapping technologies, but Henderson's team plans to use them to make a digital 3D map of Pavlopetri, accurate down to the millimeters. All Henderson needs now is the money—he and his team have a little more fundraising to do before their multi-year project can commence. 

If all goes according to plan, the study would see the light of day in five years. But the archaeological innovations could bear fruit sooner—if the mapping technique is a viable one for underwater archaeologists, they could start using it to study shipwrecks, sunken cities, and other mysteries buried in the deep.
Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
Videos
  • Prejudice is typically perpetrated against 'the other', i.e. a group outside our own.
  • But ageism is prejudice against ourselves — at least, the people we will (hopefully!) become.
  • Different generations needs to cooperate now more than ever to solve global problems.


Active ingredient in Roundup found in 95% of studied beers and wines

The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.

(MsMaria/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
  • A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
  • Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Keep reading Show less