I think archaeologists are stuck, and we are losing our past at a very rapid rate. Tens of thousands of sites will be lost, and we've only unveiled a tiny percent of the past.

Sarah Parcak

Sarah Parcak

Profession: Archaeologist
Nationality: American

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I'm looking at looting photos from space, and there are people putting their lives on the line every day protecting their heritage. I call these people the real culture heroes.

What is amazing to me as an archaeologist is that the more and more I study, I realize we are resilient, we are creative, we are brilliant, and this is what makes us human, and that hasn't changed since we've been human.

Archaeologists gave the military the idea to use aerial photographs for spying and field survey. We are fortunate that the spatial and spectral resolutions of the imagery available to us are so broadly useful for archaeology.

With population pressures, urbanization, and modernization encroaching, we're in a race against time. Why not use the most advanced tools we have to map, quantify, and protect our past?

Archaeology holds all the keys to understanding who we are and where we come from.

Less than 1 percent of ancient Egypt has been discovered and excavated. With population pressures, urbanization, and modernization encroaching, we're in a race against time. Why not use the most advanced tools we have to map, quantify, and protect our past?

Choosing an unconventional career path - I am not a traditional Egyptologist by any means. I found what I love, and I have stuck with it.

When a wall is slowly covered over by earth, the materials it's made from decay and become part of the soils around and above it, sometimes causing vegetation above and next to the wall to grow faster or slower. Satellite imagery helps archaeologists to pick up these subtle changes.

When you think about archaeology, archaeology is the only field that allows us to tell the story of 99 percent of our history prior to 3,000 B.C. and writing.

We emphasise the features on satellite maps by adding colours to farmland, urban structures, archaeological sites, vegetation and water.

I am part of a network of people monitoring what's happening at ancient sites in Iraq and Syria - from space. We can see clearly the destruction.

How do you find a buried city in a vast landscape? Finding it randomly would be the equivalent of locating a needle in a haystack, blindfolded, wearing baseball mitts.

There are so many previously unknown sites and structures all over the world. And I think most importantly what satellites help to show us is we've actually only found a fraction of a percent of ancient settlements and sites all over the world.

I predict that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of undiscovered ancient sites across the globe. The only way to map them and locate them quickly is from satellites.