Enlarge (credit: Barbour et al. 2019)
A team of archaeologists and its trusty drone are revealing an island community that once supplied valuable beads to the inland towns of the Mississippian culture, which thrived in the eastern United States from 800 to about 1600 CE.
The supply end of an ancient trade network
A drone armed with laser beams discovered the remains of a long-lost culture on Raleigh Island, off the north coast of Florida. The high-resolution aerial laser scans mapped a massive complex of 37 oyster-shell rings, 23m to 136m across—the kind of rings that build up around coastal settlements through years of people eating oysters and discarding the shells. Some of the rings stood less than a meter high, but others loomed four meters above their surroundings