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'Tech can help avoid destruction of hidden archaeological sites'

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Even after setting boundaries around prominent heritage sites, buried archaeological foundations in close proximity can still go undetected -- something that can be resolved through tech-based interventions like and remote sensing, landscape and geo-spatial researcher, said here.

"In the periphery of a site, there are buried remains that are not exposed. An can recognise them but a lay man can only recognise what is presented as heritage to them," she said.

"For buried remains, if you leave it, some will come and study and expose it," the researcher, who has worked in sites like Nalanda Mahavihara, Bodh Gaya, Vijayanagara and told IANS on the sidelines of the two-day conference on "Partnership for Cultural Heritage Conservation" that concluded on Wednesday at the here.

Pointing to a birds-eye map of the Unesco world of in Bihar's Bodh Gaya, the Bengaluru-based of Advanced Studies (NIAS) said a lot of urbanisation had occurred since 2002 -- the year status was accorded -- leading to loss of 'potential' buried remains surrounding the temple.

This, she said, is where boundaries come in.

Put simply, improper demarcation often leads to burying of sites (under hotels and other support for tourists) not detected and excavated yet -- a threat that can be allayed using

To ensure that heritage sites do not fall victim to their own heritage tag, it then becomes important to demarcate using "geo-spatial research, GPS, new and old maps, and visits to the site" that increases the chances of "having included more remains" within the limits set.

Rajani has been an assistant in the M.Tech GIS programme at NIIT University, Neemrana in Rajasthan, Fellow of in Bihar, and guest faculty at in Gujarat, along with a post-doctoral associate at NIAS, and a doctoral She was awarded a Ph.D for her thesis titled 'Space-based archaeological investigations' by in 2011.So how can technology help?

"We are ant-sized when we look at archaeological sites physically. When we see it from a distance from satellite imagery, then we see a pattern and identify what was the larger extent of Nalanda or any other site," she said.

"Because infrared can see what eyes cannot, they can indicate a variety of factors, for instance the difference in colour of vegetation, which can indicate buried foundations. If there's a ditch, and there's a buried foundation in it, the vegetation growing on it will be less healthy," explained the former student of and the

Speaking about the current regulations of demarcating up to 100-200 metres around sites that are protected, Rajani also argued in favour of setting tailor-made boundaries.

"It's not that regulations of Unesco or ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) are not well thought-out, but still wrong things can happen and today they can be easily detected with technology. So why not use it?"

(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 06 2018. 16:06 IST