Anthropology Professor aired on Science Channel

By on August 15, 2013
Dr. Sarah Parcak is known for her anthropology work using
satellite imaging to identify potential archaeological sites.
(Photo provided by UAB News)

The work of UAB Associate Professor of Anthropology Sarah Parcak, Ph.D., is the focus of a 60-minute Science Channel documentary that aired on Monday, Aug.12, at 9 p.m. CT. “What Lies Beneath: Roman Empire,” follows Parcak’s months-long trek across Rome’s expansive ancient kingdom as she uncovers long-buried sites she identified from space using remote-sensing technology.

Parcak, an expert in the field of remote sensing, uses satellite imagery to identify ancient sites around the world that were thought to be lost forever. Monday’s show will reveal how she traveled to Tunisia, Jordan, Italy and Romania and uncovered sites that included an amphitheater and the likely location of a famous lighthouse.

Parcak’s research has reinvigorated exploration for ancient sites throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. She was highlighted in the February 2013 issue of National Geographic in the magazine’s “New Age of Exploration” section. She is also a member of the 2012 class of National Geographic Emerging Explorers.

Parcak made international headlines when she became the first Egyptologist to use infrared satellite imaging to identify previously unknown archaeological sites. From her Laboratory for Global Observation at UAB, Parcak can spot ancient sites hidden beneath the desert surface under centuries of sediment. She then travels to those locations to confirm through excavation that they exist.

During a 2011 project to look for Egyptian sites via satellite, Parcak uncovered 17 potential new pyramids, more than 1,000 tombs and more than 3,000 ancient settlements. On location, she and a team of archaeologists were able to confirm and unearth many of those discoveries. Her work was documented on the BBC and The Discovery Channel, and has been noted in newspapers, television and radio stories around the world.

Parcak, who is also a 2012 TED Fellow, has been awarded numerous research grants and contracts from NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society. She is an elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and was a featured lecturer (2009-12) of the Archaeological Institute of America. She received the UAB Exceptional Innovation Award in 2011, as well as the UAB Honorary Alumni Award in 2012.

Parcak also wrote the first book detailing the methods of satellite archaeology and plans to further her work in Egypt, where she will return for survey and excavation soon.

UAB News

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