I find it very interesting at how much modern technology can help us advance our knowledge of the past, and of archaeology. Previous to the 21st century, much of the information gained from archaeology had to be gathered by hand. But now, with revolutions in science and medicine, we don’t even have to touch the artifacts to gain knowledge from them.
One revolution in archaeology would be the use of MRI and other medical techniques to view an artifact without touching it. In the case of Egypt, this method is very useful, because archaeologists can view mummies without ever opening their sarcophagi. This means that these mummies can be preserved even better, and perhaps will last long enough to see the next revolutions within technology. Using medical techniques on mummies, we can also find out many things about who a person was, and how they lived. For example, with Tutankhamen, scientists and archaeologists were able to collaborate, and create an image of what he may have looked like. Beyond this, they were also able to find that Tutankhamen may have had Marfan Syndrome. This lead to the discovery of how Akhenaten may have been Tutankhamen’s father, because they share this genetic disorder.
Beyond the use of medical techniques to examine artifacts, the discovery and overview of sites has been revolutionized by satellites. Nowadays, many archaeologists would use Google Maps as a resource to get a quick preview of a site. Sometimes, simple methods like this have led to the discovery of new sites. This method also allows archaeologists to look at the big picture of sites. From the ground, some massive structures that do not exist anymore may not be easy to see. However, from discoloration of the Earth, these sites can be viewed more readily from space. Beyond satellites, archaeologists also have many other detection devices that help them see what is underneath the ground. From the use of magnetics to radar, archaeologists no longer have to dig to see what is under the Earth. This means that less time is spent digging and destroying potential artifacts, and more time can be spent on analyzing the importance of the site itself. Without these devices, archaeologists would still be digging massive amounts of sites, and many sites may have never been discovered.
Although archaeology deals with some of the oldest remaining artifacts on Earth, the methods used to collect and analyze these artifacts are state of the art. Without many of the technological revolutions, much of the sites and discoveries in archaeology would not exist today.