Google Earth reveals ancient stories

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"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," science fiction author Arthur Clarke once suggested.

Say a magic carpet and a genie's lamp, the stuff of Arabian Nights, which made the Arab desert famous for fables and legends?

Well, how about Google Earth instead? Like a friendly genie, that modern technology has started answering archeologist's wishes with its worldwide catalog of satellite views of the Earth. A pair of studies in the Journal of Archaelogical Science this year suggest these views are revealing a vast and ancient story, one only starting to emerge from the fabled desert of Arabia.

"(W)e are on the brink of an explosion of knowledge," writes archeologist David Kennedy of University of Western Australia in Perth, in a report in the current edition of the journal. Aerial photography and satellite images from Syria to Yemen are, "revealing hundreds of thousands of collapsed structures, often barely (19 to 30 inches) in height and virtually invisible at ground level," he writes....

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