Drone images reveal ancient village in New Mexico

A series of drones have helped a group of archeologists uncover a 1,000-year-old village in New Mexico. Using thermal imagery, researchers can now see what lies beneath the dirt-covered desert landscape.

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It offers unique insight into who lived there, and what the area was like 1,000 years ago.

"Really just a few days work allowed us to do something which would have taken a decade of work, if we were to actually be trying to excavate this entire area for example," Dr. John Kantner told CBS News.

An archaeologist at the University of Florida, Kantner has studied the landscape south of Chaco Canyon for decades. He says he always knew there were homes from pueblo ancestors in the area now called "Blue J." Now, the thermal imagery has revealed more than he and his team knew about.
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One of the most interesting discoveries, he said, is a possible "kiva" - a ceremonial structure where people would meet for worship and decision-making. "We were able to find rooms, we think we were able to find... at least one kiva that was below the surface," he said.

"That really shapes your interpretation of what their lives were like, so for me its very excited that we may have actually been able to, using this technology, identify these features below the surface," he said.

The images will help guide continued research in the area, where researchers estimate hundred of people once lived.

"If you drive down Interstate 40 today, you have to imagine that 1,000 years ago, it actually was a pretty packed landscape," he said.

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