Italian drone to map ancient Sumerian sites in southern Iraq

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By Basem al-Rikabi

Azzaman,  March 21, 2014

Italian archaeologists excavating ancient sites in southern Iraq plan to use a drone to survey the ruins of Ur and the surrounding areas, the Governor of Dihqar Province Mohammed Baqer said.

Baqer said the drone was already flown to a nearby base and his provincial authorities have obtained government approval to use it to map ancient sites.

He said a delegation from the Italian foreign ministry and representatives from the Italian archaeological expedition in Iraq discussed the details of how to fly the drone the government.

“The mapping of ancient sites will start soon via an Italian-made drone. It will survey and provide pictures with minute details of the city of Ur and the ancient sites in its vicinity,” he said.

Ur was the capital of Sumer, the earliest Iraqi civilization which saw the birth writing and the invention of a civil and urban system based on city-states in 3000 B.C.

The drone, he said, will fly at an altitude of 150 meters providing the scientists with details the will help them draw an accurate archaeological map of the region.

The Italians are among the most active foreign archaeologists in Iraq. They have resumed excavations in earnest and are currently digging ancient sites and renovating a temple in Ur.

The Province of Dhiqar, of which the city of Nasiriya is the capital, is the richest in antiquities in Iraq.

It is the site where Sumerian civilization flourished and according to Bager it has at least 1200 archaeologically significant sites most of which unexcavated.