Sarah Parcak Pioneers Satellite Archaeology

Sarah Parcak, TED Winner

Egyptologist and National Geographic explorer Sarah Parcak uses high-flying cameras to reveal lost cities and save ancient treasures from looters.

Egyptologist Sarah Parcak, winner of the $1 million TED Prize, envisions dramatic discoveries fueled by technology. “The future of archeology is just unbelievable,” she says.

Sarah Parcak credits the Tooth Fairy for sparking her first dreams of working as an archeologist in Egypt. “When I was a little girl in Maine in the 1980s and I lost my first tooth, the next morning I found an amazing book about the history of Egypt under my pillow.”

Nowadays the pioneering Egyptologist often looks toward the sky to locate treasures buried underground. Parcak, winner of the 2016 TED Prize, which was announced today, has pioneered the use of satellite imaging systems to map, quantify, and protect humanity’s past. These electronic eyes in the sky are helping archaeologists discover an invisible world of lost tombs, temples, and pyramids—even an entire Egyptian city buried for 3,000 years.

“We knew from ancient writings that there was a place called Tanis,” says Parcak, who founded and directs the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “But we probably wouldn’t have noticed it from the ground, even if we walked right over it.”

Parcak analyzed infrared and laser-generated images captured from 700 miles above the Earth to … read more —>


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