When the National Geographic Society awarded its first archaeology grant to Hiram Bingham in 1912, the archaeologist headed off to Machu Picchu with one of the most advanced pieces of technology at the time: a Kodak panoramic camera. More than a hundred years later, archaeologists have a staggering array of technological tools to employ, from remote-sensing equipment that allows us to “see” beyond the visual bandwidth to computers so powerful that they can process in a second what it would take humans thousands of years to do.
“There’s a reason why National Geographic is calling the 21st century the “new age of exploration,” says archaeologist and Society fellow Fredrik Hiebert. “The opportunities for what we can discover in this century — and the questions we’ll finally be able to answer — seem almost limitless.”
With that enthusiasm in mind, we asked Hiebert to share his predictions on what we may be able to look forward to in this new century of discovery: