Caesar and the Helvetii: Can Technology verify History?
An international team around Assistant Professor Tom Whitley from the University of Western Australia is using GIS (or Geographic Information Systems) to recreate the environment around Gaius Iulius Caesar’s De bello Gallico and check, if it really was lack of food, which drove the Helvetii (a celtic tribe that lived in middle-switzerland and south-west germany) out of their mountains, onto roman territory.
With radar, magnetometry and aerial photogrammetry they try to create a digital landscape of 60 B.C.’s switzerland and try various settings and influences (e.g. erosion, avalanches or manmade alterings, like dams and fields) to get as close as possible to the ancient conditions. What was going on with the Helvetii back then and where could Caesar have build the bridges, whose pure existance shocked the Helvetii into retreating? You just gotta love the efforts of some scientists!