Recent breaking news showed muscular extremists with ISIS (ISIL or "Islamic State") crashing sledge hammers against statues. Not just any statues, but works that had been treasured across the world both for their artistic beauty and as windows into our collective past. The loss goes beyond our capacity to calculate.
Now, here we present another story that matters. It's focused not on destroying but on connecting. This one has made no headlines; it will never be introduced by an announcer saying, "We interrupt this broadcast ..." If you want to know what low-key means, this would be a place to start. But the story is also deep-down important.
And it's good news. It comes from Terry Hardaker, Oxford cartographer-turned-international archaeologist, who contributed Dispatch #2, which we keep available on this site. Hardaker writes:
I just returned from an archaeological trip to Botswana ... we were using Google Earth to locate topographic features that lead us to Paleolithic artefacts lying on the surface of the Kalahari. Such scatters have lain in the same place for up to 5 or 6 thousand years . Yet nobody had noticed them until we began our initial project in Namibia in 2002. Now this approach is being adopted by the Botswana government , and I was there on an exploratory project with them. So you can see how earth imagery continues to help archaeology.
Right! Modern technology connecting with humanity's early history, bridging the gap of thousands of years. -- a span that we could never cross without the help of scholars and mappers and historians and people like Terry Hardaker and far-sighted people making policy choices. Mapping serving archaeology, and through it enriching the lives of all of us. Thanks, Terry, for this glimpse of hope when we are weighed down with so much news of crises and destruction!