Unraveling centuries of history while riding a quad? Yep!

Unraveling centuries of history while riding a quad? Yep!

Unraveling centuries of history while riding a quad? Yep!

You’ve always thought Indiana Jones was awesome, right? Well, you better think again, come check what Phillipe De Smedt has to say at TEDxGhent 2014 and see what it means to be a really awesome archaeologist. If you’ve already heard of him, then you probably know he’s the winner of the Eos Golden Pipet 2013 awarded to the most promising young scientist under 35. And if you haven’t heard of that, you must have heard that he was awarded the title of ‘the most remarkable Ghentian’ of 2014 (Strafste Gentenaar 2014) in the category ‘academic’. Sounds like a pretty big deal, right?

It is a big deal! By merging archaeological and bioengineering knowledge, Phillipe found a way to analyze centuries of history while riding a quad – instead of the old school digging with a spade! Want to know more? A technique called electromagnetic induction (EMI) enabled the researchers to discover and analyze the wetlands surrounding Boudelo Abbey (Belgium) which had been drained and used as agricultural land centuries ago. With an apparatus attached to a quad, they transmitted an electromagnetic field which enabled them to determine the electrical conductivity and magnetic susceptibility of the soil. In words more easily understandable to all of us non-soil-scientists out there, this allowed them to study the texture of the soil and the organic matter and water content as well as showed if the soil had ever been heated. And what is more, they found ways to present all this information in 3D – basically conducting archeological excavations without really excavating anything!

Now – how cool is that?! Cool enough for Phillipe De Smedt to be working at Stonehenge at the moment and definitely cool enough for you to come listen to Phillipe’s talk at TEDxGhent 2014 and learn about modern archaeological techniques. It’s about time for you to get over Indiana Jones!


Written by Meta Gorup


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