Unmanned aircraft reveals 2,500 year old petroglyphs in Utah desert


Sarah Griffiths

Some drones have a bad reputation for snooping on people and facilitating acts of war.

But unmanned aircraft can be used to give experts a new view of inaccessible and remote locations to uncover lost treasures. An incredible collection of 20 petroglyphs has been revealed by a drone flight in southern Utah. They are thought to be the work of the basketmaker people who lived some 2,500 years ago and made rock etchings in a very particular style, with depictions of humans often having broad shoulders and skinny legs. Ex-soldier Bill Clary who owns drone business ‘Got Aerials’ piloted the unmanned aircraft over the Utah desert to discover the rock carvings on an inaccessible ledge on a high canyon wall.

The Colorado resident filmed the voyage and close-ups of the carvings, but will not reveal the location of the ancient drawings until he has spoken to the landowner. Jerry Spangler, who heads up the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance told Fox News that the petroglyphs are of the San Juan basketmaker style with broad shoulders and stick-like legs. ‘It’s a very classic style made by the basketmaker people from about 500 BC through around 860AD.’ They could have been unseen for thousands of years. ‘It’s possible that what he’s found has never been formally documented by archaeologist,’ said Mr Spangler.

He believes that there are hundreds of sites in the Utah desert which have yet to be discovered and that drones could be used to investigate inaccessible areas that are sometimes too dangerous for humans to explore. ‘Some of these sites are so incredibly difficult to get to, just for safety reasons we can’t get to them,’ he said. However, he has reservations about the sharing of locations of hidden gems as looting and vandalism of sites is a real problem, despite the fact that it is illegal to tamper with or remove anything from an archaeological site on public property.

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2014/03/unmanned-aircraft-reveals-2500-year-old.html#.UzO4WvmSySq