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Egypt Survey

December 14, 2006

Satellites are shedding light on ancient Egypt.


How satellites changed ancient Egypt. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Archaeologists are known for digging in the dirt, but Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama prefers a wider perspective. She’s been using satellite images to identify new archaeological sites in Egypt. These sites are marked by different types vegetation and soil, which show up more clearly in non-visible light, like infrared or microwave. So far, she’s found more than 100 new sites.

SARAH PARCAK (University of Alabama-Birmingham):
From space when you’re looking down on the modern landscape and using the satellites and looking at the different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, it’s going to kind of jump out at you—it certainly has with the work that I’ve done in Egypt.

Until now, scientists thought they’d uncovered as much as ten percent of ancient Egypt. But based on her research, Parcak believes that it’s more like one tenth of a percent. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.