Friday's Food For Thought: Space Archeology

Dr. Sarah Parcak uses satellite imagery for archeological discovery

By Lindsay Tilton Mitchell

Jan. 15, 2016

“Space archeology” is a new term emerging in the news thanks to Dr. Sarah Parcak, an associate professor of anthropology and director of the Laboratory of Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Parcak is also a National Geographic Fellow and recipient of the 2016 TED Prize. The annual TED Prize is awarded to an individual with creative vision and a “wish to change the world.”

Deemed a modern day Indiana Jones, Parcak has dedicated her career to combining satellite imagery with infrared and thermal capabilities to detect and pinpoint archeological sites, as she explained in a recent interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Parcak has located 17 potential Egyptian pyramids, 3,100 forgotten settlements, and 1,000 lost tombs. According to a CNN article, over the past several years Parcak has worked in the Middle East to not only uncover lost sites but to help protect historical areas from looting and destruction. Parcak has hinted her “wish to change the world” and use of the $1 million TED Prize will be related to preservation of historic sites. Her wish will be revealed at the annual TED Conference Feb. 16.

Watch Parcak’s 2012 TED Talk here to learn more.


Photo Credit: Sarah Parcak