Modern Technology Reveals Ancient Footpaths Buried in 2,500 Years Worth of Volcanic Ash


Creator: Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

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Scientists Payson Sheets and Tom Sever used infrared satellite imagery and video-game technology to trace ancient footpaths in Costa Rica. Their techniques helped them to peer through the veils of time, volcanic ash and vegetation cover, focusing on an area near the Arenal volcano. Their technique has uncovered footpaths of villagers who lived there 2,500 years ago, between 500 B.C and 600 A.D. The pathways run from villages to cemeteries, with the constant traffic wearing a trench between 7 and 13 ft deep. The research gives us insight into their social and ritual activities, especially surrounding the ways in which they honored their dead.

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