Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Archaeology in the news: Satellite imagery of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Adrian Myers, a grad student in archaeology at Stanford, has been in the news lately for his work on satellite imagery of Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay. It's (almost) always good when archaeological research is featured in places like Science Magazine and Wired.

The basic scholarly article is:
Myers, Adrian 2010    Camp Delta, Google Earth and the Ethics of Remote Sensing in Archaeology. World Archaeoelogy 42(3):455-467.

Here is the abstract:  With easy access to satellite imagery through free applications such as Google Earth, it is now financially feasible for archaeologists to undertake remote survey in areas that are difficult or impossible to access in person. But there are ethical concerns inherent in the use of remotely sensed images, as Google Earth might be seen as a panoptic viewing technology that leaves no voice to those being viewed. Through a virtual investigation of the Camp Delta prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, I discuss methodological and theoretical aspects of the use of Google Earth in archaeology.
See also:

Publication in a peer-reviewed journal with a good reputation (World Archaeology) gives the work credibility, which is probably one reason it was picked up by Science. There are a couple of things that I really like about Adrian's research.

  • His inclusion of methods, substantive findings, and ethical considerations in his two published articles.
  • The application of archaeological methods and approaches to contemporary issues.
  • These same features also characterize his dissertation research, a historical archaeological study of a German prisoner-of-war camp in Canada. I find that work interesting for its relevance to my comparative research on urban neighborhoods and spatial organization.
  • Last but not least, Adrian posts his papers (and related items) on his page on Academia.edu.

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