Google Earth Helps Find 2,000 Archaeological Sites

Mike Halsey MVP
Feb 5, 2011
Updated • Mar 22, 2012

It's great to see new, different and exciting ways that new technology is being put to.  The latest is Google Earth, which has been used to study potential archaeological sites in Saudi Arabia according to the New Scientist.  Nearly 2,000 sites have been found in the country by the University of Western Australia without having even to set foot in the country.

David Kennedy from the University scanned 1,240 square kilometres from his office, getting a birds-eye view and found 1,977 potential sites including 1.082 pendants, ancient tear-drop staped tombs made of stone.

Kennedy says he chose Google Earth because it is difficult to fly over Saudi Arabia.  He passed the information on the sites to a colleague who could then visit thew sites to photograph them.  "Just from Google Earth it's impossible to know whether we have found a Bedouin structure that was made 150 years ago, or 10,000 years ago".

By comparing the images with structures that Kennedy has seen in Jordan, he believes the sites may be up to 9000 years old, but ground verification is needed. "Just from Google Earth it's impossible to know whether we have found a Bedouin structure that was made 150 years ago, or 10,000 years ago," he says.

Instead Kennedy scanned 1240 square kilometres in Saudi Arabia using Google Earth. From their birds-eye view he found 1977 potential archaeological sites, including 1082 "pendants" - ancient tear-drop shaped tombs made of stone.

Google Earth has allowed many people to explore, not just our own planet, but also our moon and closest neighbour, Mars.  The field of armchair archaeology has blossomed in the five years since Google Earth first appeared.

In 2008, researchers from Melbourne Australia found 463 potential sites in the Registan desert in Afghanistan using the same Google software.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Transcontinental said on February 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Google Earth helping to find archaeological sites is news for me, but no surprise. Indeed Google Maps and then — also — Google Earth are two examples of what technology can bring to life as well as to research, and Google should it be for that sole reason will never lack my consideration, whatever my grievance may be once in a while :)

    One can also mention in this perspective latest Google Art Project ( ), as a form of Google Museum View, amazing as well.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.