3 Mysteries Archaeologists Are Poised to Crack

Perhaps the site of Alexander the Great's tomb?
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2015 12:34 PM CDT
A bronze statue of Alexander the Great on his horse Bucephalus in Thessaloniki, Greece.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(Newser) – Modern archaeologists are armed with much more than picks and shovels, and tools such as ground-penetrating radar and super-powerful computers leave them on the brink of some remarkable discoveries, writes Fredrik Hiebert. The archaeologist lays out some of them in National Geographic:

  • Famous tombs: Expect to see the resting places of Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan revealed in the next century. Satellite imagery is helping to identify possible locations, and the radar mentioned above then gets to work. The combo is a great way to survey vast swaths of land, making a big-name discovery a matter of time.

  • Lost cities: Advances in LiDar, or light detection and ranging, allows researchers to look beneath jungle canopies in Central and South America, bringing the discovery of long-lost civilizations within reach.
  • Ancient language: Scientists unearthed the Minoan civilization of the Mediterranean more than a century ago, but they remain stumped by the language. They've got more than 1,400 examples of it, "and now we have big data in our toolkit," says Hiebert. "Why don’t we put IBM's Watson on the job?"
Click for the full list of seven, including the tantalizing possibility of finding an intact Neanderthal. (Read more archaeology stories.)

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