It's both Indiana Jones and 'National Geographic' that inspired me to be an Egyptologist.
If you really want to be a good archaeologist, you have to understand ancient DNA; you have to understand chemical analysis to figure out the composition of ancient pots. You have to be able to study human remains. You need to be able to do computer processing and, in some cases, computer programming.
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?
In Egypt, I do survey work on the ground. That's really the most important part of using satellite images. You know, it helps us to find potential locations for sites, and then we get to go there on the ground and confirm what we've seen.
It's absolutely critical, you know, to train young men and women not just to find sites, but also to protect sites, especially in the wake of the Arab Spring. There's been significant site-looting in Egypt and elsewhere across the Middle East.
You think looting is bad in Egypt, look at Peru, India, China. I've been told in China there are over a quarter-million archaeological sites, and most have been looted. This is a global problem of massive proportions, and we don't know the scale.
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.