Precision farming data offers archaeologists new insights

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In the United Kingdom, a University of Bristol study suggests that developments in precision farming could yield data of great use to archaeological research, and that archaeological data could be valuable for modern farming systems.

The paper gives the example of soil variation, which can now be measured in great detail and scope using technologies such as multispectral imaging from satellites and drones, geochemical mapping and yield recording in order to manage small areas of farmland more effectively.  Thus, by having more detailed datasets of soils, farmers can target their fertilizers better and archaeologists can understand more about buried cultural heritage.

The precision farming data sets have potential benefits for archaeologists, since archaeological remains are often buried within cultivated soils, and soils also provide a unique context for learning about the archaeological remains themselves both spatially and vertically, providing vital and sometimes detailed records of soil history and depositional processes.

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