Archeologist uses drone to track ancient gravesite looters

UConn Researcher

UConn Anthropologist Researcher Dr. Chad Hill

University of Connecticut Anthropologist Dr. Chad Hill uses drones to track lotting of ancient burial plots in the Middle East. Chad Hill is working on a project called “Follow The Pots Project” led by Anthropologist Dr. Morag Kersel of DePaul University. In a interview with Chad said “We’re not using the drones to track people in any way,” The project was initiated to investigate how and why people excavate, loot, sell and collect pottery vessels from 5,000 year old grave sites. The Pots have significant cultural value. The Follow The Pots Project has been researching in the Middle East for 3 years. The area that the team is currently working at has 10,000 grave sites and so far about 3,700 have been looted. The looting site looks like the surface of moon. Each one the holes below is an gravesite. When the looters dig up the graves they toss aside the bones and the broken pottery and take off with intact pottery or anything else of value. Whats left after is the image below.

Middle East Grave Site

Middle East Grave Site

The team has gathered valuable information since it began this project. “We lose almost all context and information about what was in the ground at the burials,” Hill says. “Once items are looted, we know from ethnographic interviews with looters, middlemen and dealers, that people from Amman and Kerak come to the site in ‘big black’ cars to buy the pots,” says Kersel, who heads the project. “The pots then go from person to person through various well-established networks of trade—direct sales to collectors, to dealers in Jordan and other parts of the world, Israel, Dubai, London and in sales arenas like EBay, licensed shops and eventually to private and institutional collections. We are trying to connect all of the dots in the network—hence the name ‘follow the pots.”

If you would like to know more and support “Follow The Pots Project” Please click the links below.

The article used for information was written by. Erik Ofgang

To support the project please go to

Lets try and do all we can do stop these atrocities and help give dignity and civility back to the people who are buried here. Thank you for taking the time to read this article and please support this project.

Here is some more pictures from


Looted landscape in Fifa


Human remains scattered on the surface as a result of looting

Human remains scattered on the surface as a result of looting


Early Bronze Age pots for sale in an Antiquities Shop in Jerusalem, 2012

Early Bronze Age pots for sale in an Antiquities Shop in Jerusalem, 2012



I'm currently pursuing a Major in Business and a Minor in Anthropology at Kansas State University.

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