12 July 2023, 12:31

AI helped discover new Nazca geoglyphs

AI helped discover new Nazca geoglyphs
Ten years of work to discover new geoglyphs in the arid Peruvian coastal plain, located in the northern part of the Peruvian Nazca Pampa, has yielded results. Scientists discovered 4 new drawings.

The research was carried out by Japanese archaeologists, who spent a decade studying a large area of the Nazca Pampa using satellite imagery, aerial photography, airborne LiDAR scanning and drone photography.

First, the images were identified using aerial photography and in-situ capture, and then, using machine learning to find project data, images missed in previous studies were analyzed.
Using this approach allowed us to discover four new Nazca geoglyphs. The drawings depict a humanoid figure, a pair of legs, a fish and a bird. The humanoid figure holds a staff in its right hand and is 5 meters long. The geoglyph of a fish with its mouth wide open is 19 meters long, the geoglyph of a bird is 17 meters long, and a pair of legs is 78 meters long.

The Nazca Lines are believed to have been created over the centuries, beginning around 100 BC, by the Nazca people living in present-day Peru. The first detailed study of these drawings dates back to the 1940s. In 1994, they were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and by that time about 30 geoglyphs had already been identified.
The researchers believe that they have succeeded in developing a deep learning pipeline that helps solve the problems that arise during the identification of archaeological finds. They noted a better generalization of materials, which affects the overall productivity of research.

The use of artificial intelligence proves that machine learning can be useful for science. This is especially true for problems related to large data sets.

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