Sarah Parcak

Sarah Parcak is a space archaeologist. And, with National Geographic’s help, she wants you to be one, too. An Egyptologist by training (that’s the “archaeologist” part of her title), Parcak uses satellite imagery (there’s the “space” part) to uncover clues about ancient sites possibly hidden in vegetation and land-use patterns. Processing satellite images in near-infrared...

Growing up, I was obsessed with Indiana Jones—and today, I’m lucky enough to be an archaeologist who digs regularly in Egypt. Now, I get to help others live out the dream with GlobalXplorer. Here are some of their stories. Sean Kohler, 42, works in Phoenix, Arizona as an IT architect for an insurance company. He enjoys his work,...

Citizen scientists have discovered a cluster of galaxies millions of light years away. They’ve logged data that proved there was citywide lead contamination in the water in Flint, Michigan. They’ve rallied attention to a mass die-off of sea stars. And today, they will begin mapping Peru, using GlobalXplorer.org to scan specially-processed satellite imagery for signs...

I’ve recently come to a surprising—nay, “fantastic”—realization about the lives of archaeologists. On digs, we live like hobbits. The day begins very, very early. Early-rising is key because you only get to work as long as the sun is up, and the site can be a fair distance away. This summer, while digging at Point Rosee...

Archaeologists have studied the ancient city of Petra for more than 200 years. So I didn’t feel wildly hopeful about finding anything unknown when I did a satellite survey of the site in 2012. But then, there it was: a massive monumental platform. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of unknown archaeological sites...

Summer, for me, means the thrill of archaeological digs. Plus, archaeological reading. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Parcak) It’s summertime, which means: summer reading. Specifically, summer reading that sends me to far off places, and lets me daydream of being out on a dig. Below, five incredible books for anyone interested in archaeology. The first paints a...

Last October, a story caught my attention. The Green family, best known for owning the craft store Hobby Lobby, was under investigation for the “illicit importation of cultural heritage from Iraq.” According to The Daily Beast, US customs officers had seized a shipment of several hundred cuneiform tablets purchased by the family in 2011, for...

Satellite archaeologist Sarah Parcak got feedback on her vision of launching a citizen science platform for archaeology after speaking at TED2016. She appreciated the chance to learn from “the collective wisdom” of people in a wide variety of fields. Photo by Marla Aufmuth/TED The TED2016 conference, held in February in Vancouver, was a surreal experience. I’d attended before,...

The last five years have been horrific for archaeology. I am a space archaeologist, and before 2011, I spent my time happily processing satellite images to spot subtle changes to the Earth’s surface that hint at ancient sites, hidden from view. But since 2011, my work has changed. Like many of my colleagues, I now...