Sarah Parcak is a “Space Archaeologist” and the 2016 TED Prize winner. Using satellite imagery and a complex process she developed Sarah has identified thousands of undiscovered archeological sites across the globe.
Inspired by her grandfather, an early pioneer of aerial photography, Sarah took an interest in remote sensing while studying Egyptology at Yale. Her extraordinary technique analyzes infrared imagery to identify subtle differences in vegetation health. Plants grow differently when rooting atop structures and by identifying these differences Sarah is able to locate long lost remnants of human history. To date she has discovered more than three-thousand missing settlements, over one-thousand tombs and the lost city of Tanis.
With money provided by the TED Prize Sarah is developing XPlorer. This online application will allow people around the world to search out lost civilizations from their homes and classrooms. A global collective of amateur archaeologists working together through crowd sourcing could very well uncover the next great archeological treasures. At a time when so much of our shared cultural history is at risk due to war and looting this task is more crucial and time sensitive than ever.
Sarah serves as the founding director of the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is also the CEO of SpectralGlobe technologies.