Recreation of Roman History Using Computer Technology that Serves as an Imperialist Allegory
In association with space archaeologist Sarah Parcak from Alabama State University, presenter Dan Snow travels to several Roman sites in Italy, Africa and the Middle East to show how computer technology - specifically the use of satellites and laser beams - can help us discover more about hitherto inaccessible sites. The computer graphics are colorful enough, but the program's entire thrust seems false: we wonder why the professional archaeologists interviewed throughout the program - for example Prof. Simon Keay - have not managed to make similar discoveries over the last three decades. Are they just antediluvian in their methods, or has the entire emphasis on (re- )discovering the past been manufactured especially for the program? More significantly, perhaps, is the fact that we are introduced to very few local archaeologists, except in Transylvania, where a Romanian professor from the University of Cluj is suitably impressed by Parcak's technology. In the Middle East and Africa, no locals appear at all, suggesting, perhaps, that the program's aim is not necessarily to foreground the power of new technology, but rather to re-emphasize western (specifically American, with a little British support) domination over the current archaeological agenda, especially when the research location is outside the western world. We are encouraged to feel good when Parcak makes these discoveries, as they evidently represent a major contribution to archaeological knowledge. The problem is, I don't believe the program's claims at all.
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