Have you ever dreamed of being in archaeologist but you never managed to do it? Starting with January 30th, you can experience the digs from the comfort of your own home with GlobalXplorer, an online platform that allows you to check out archaeological sites that are visible from outer space.
Sarah Parcak is one of NASA’s well-known space archaeologists. She came up with the idea that anyone who has internet connection can explore the sites. The satellite images featured in GlobalXplorer are the exact same that archaeologists use in their analysis of ancient sites.
Parcak is also a National Geographic Fellow and the winner of a TED Prize. You may have heard of her, since she is the one who mapped Tanis, the ancient Egyptian city presented in the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. She identified about 17 potential pyramids, 1,000 potential tombs, and 3,100 potential settlements.
The idea of the platform is interesting and exciting since anybody can be an archaeologist now. What users can do is identify unusual formations that may be unknown structures and flag them. Other important thing that users can do is spot illegal ‘looting’ pits that may be used by smugglers to find artifacts which they would sell on the black markets.
Thus, users can help the archaeologists and authorities to better preserve excavation sites or launch new exploring campaigns. Moreover, GlobalXplorer make the entire process more fun by using a game format. When the data they collected is used and reviewed by the experts, users receive different rewards.
These rewards include YouTube content with otherwise limited access, early notifications on Reddit about AMAs, or other exclusive information regarding the archaeological process.
Parcak received $1 million together with her TED Prize. After the award, she announced that she would use the money to create a tool that would allow internet users to see satellite images of the sites in an attempt to preserve and make new archaeological discoveries.
Parcak’s further plans also include collaborations with citizens and she even wants to launch a specialized satellite that would help with the archaeological research. Archaeology fans, this is your chance to get involved in the discoveries and help preserve the excavation sites.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons