Sarah Parcak has been called a “space archaeologist” for her work studying satellite imagery to identify archeological sites that have become obscured over time. Now, the specialist in Egyptology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham can be called the winner of the 2016 TED Prize after it was announced this week that Parcak will receive the $1 million award for her project centered on the protection of archaeological sites in the Middle East and elsewhere around the globe. The prize is “not about me; it’s about our field — and the thousands of men and women around the world, particularly in the Middle East, who are defending and protecting sites,” Parcak said. “The last four and a half years have been horrific for archaeology. I’ve spent a lot of time, as have many of my colleagues, looking at the destruction. I am committed to using this Prize to engage the world in finding and protecting these global sites.” She’s set to further explain the project in February.
Her work uses infrared technology to help distinguish ruins and tombs from other mounds of earth and Parack is the author of Satellite Remote Sensing for Archaeology. According to her National Geographic biography, her breed of archeology requires “deep knowledge of historical events, the geology of how materials degrade over time, topography of landscapes, seasonal weather conditions, and the culture as a whole.”
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