Archeologist's Helper

Archaeologists in Greece wanted some help discovering where there might be possible ruins. The Grade 6 Robotics Experts had to design a robot that would travel across the ground and map the ground density, the theory being that the less dense the ground is, the more disturbed it is and the better chance they will find artifacts.

We decided to use the lights sensor to substitute for a ground penetrating radar for our prototype and use a trifold with areas of different colours to represent different density contours. Each group did 19 evenly spaced runs across the trifold and programmed the robot to take light readings at .5 second intervals. They assembled the data and made a 3D surface map using Microsoft Excel that they could rotate and examine to find the best spots to dig.

Each run was numbered from 90 to -90 because we were working on latitude and longitude at the time. No real archaeology dig would span the globe like this! Using lines of longitude like this encouraged the students to be able to use the grid pattern in a meaningful way.

Chart showing best places to dig.

A 3D surface map showing the best places to dig. The lower numbers are darker colours and represent lower densities.

Some of the parents who worked in the oil industry explained that what we were doing was very much like the sesmic work they do while exploring for oil.