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Spies, Satellites and Archaeology: Mapping the Ancient Middle East

During the first four decades of the 20th century, including both World War I and World War II, some archaeologists functioned within the fledgling intelligence communities as agents, analysts, and supervisors. They had local knowledge and technical expertise useful in generating military and political intelligence to advance their countries’wartime agendas. They also used the data and techniques to pursue their own archaeological agendas and research programs.  With the advent of spy satellites in the 1950’s new technologies have emerged for use by the intelligence community, and once declassified or made publically available, have been of great use to archaeologists.  This talk explores some of these historical connections as well as the new technologies that are reshaping how we view the past.

Scott Branting is Director of the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL) and a Research Assistant Professor in Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Chicago.  With M.A. Degrees in Hittitology (University of Chicago) and Geography (University at Buffalo), he crosses a number of disciplinary boundaries with his research.  He has worked with numerous expeditions on five continents, but along the way has been a constant member of the Kerkenes Dağ Project in Turkey for twenty years and a Director of the project for the past seven years.

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