It's both Indiana Jones and 'National Geographic' that inspired me to be an Egyptologist.

Sarah Parcak

Sarah Parcak

Profession: Archaeologist
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

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.

WorldView-3 goes into the mid-infrared wavelength, allowing you to see very subtle geological differences on the sites at a 0.4-metre resolution.

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.

We only have a limited amount of time left before many archaeological sites all over the world are destroyed. So we have to be really selective about where we dig.

Archaeologists have used aerial photographs to map archaeological sites since the 1920s, while the use of infrared photography started in the 1960s, and satellite imagery was first used in the 1970s.

Satellite imagery is the only way we can map the looting patterns effectively.

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.

I try to tell a lot of stories to make my students aware that the world is a very cool place with many problems that need solving, and that they all can help solve them.

In archaeology, context is everything. Objects allow us to reconstruct the past. Taking artifacts from a temple or an ancient private house is like emptying out a time capsule.

I've always loved teaching and reading and talking to people, and my grandfather was a professor.

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.

We have so many thousands of sites to find across the globe and new techniques to test. The field keeps evolving with the technology, which makes things exciting.