Ancient Roman cult settlement found by drones

Drones enable discovery of ancient ruins below Apennine Mountains

The discovery was made in the Apennine Mountains

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

An ancient Roman "cult site" below the surface of Italy's Apennine Mountains has been revealed using drones.

The settlement had previously lain largely undiscovered as rugged terrain made the ruins too difficult to find on foot and their mountainous location meant they were dangerous to find by aeroplane.

Although a pair of temples had previously been discovered in the area, no-one had been sure what was around them, or what they were for.

However a team of archaeologists has now used drones to reveal there was an organised settlement around the temples. It is believed they were part of a dense, rural community.

Professor Tesse Stek, an archeologist at Holland's Leiden University who took part in the research, told Live Science that previously "there was no good knowledge about other sites, such as villages, farms, villas, graveyards and so on, that could tell us more about the ancient inhabitants in the area that visited the cult sites.

"They [the temples] seemed to be cathedrals in the desert, so to say."

Artefacts previously found in the area have suggested the ruins date back to between the fifth century B.C. and the seventh century A.D.

The study, published in the Journal of Cultural Heritage, has also provided evidence that drones could be used more often to uncover more sites in mountains.