Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.
Monday I was watching TED Talks on TV. TED Is a nonprofit group that advances what they judge to be powerful ideas in various field. I like the TED TV show and watched three TED talks yesterday, one of which was by Sarah Parcak, who uses satellite images to identify ancient sites.
In Egypt, Parcak's techniques have helped locate 17 potential pyramids, and more than 3,100 potential forgotten settlements. She's also made discoveries in the Viking world (as seen in the PBS Nova special, Vikings Unearthed and across the Roman Empire (as shown in the BBC documentary, Romes Lost Empire). Her methods also offer a new way to understand how ancient sites are being affected by looting and urban development. By satellite-mapping Egypt and comparing sites over time, Parcak has noted a 1,000 percent increase in looting since 2009. It’s likely that millions of dollars worth of artifacts are stolen each year. Parcak hopes that, through her work, unknown sites can be protected to preserve our rich, vibrant history.
Through GlobalXplorer she said she is "democratizing discovery." (I discussed how technology is democratizing knowledge in a very recent post.)
Here is a description of GlobalXplorer from their web site.
GlobalXplorer° is an online platform that uses the power of the crowd to analyze the incredible wealth of satellite images currently available to archaeologists. Launched by 2016 TED Prize winner and National Geographic Fellow, Dr. Sarah Parcak, as her “wish for the world,” GlobalXplorer° aims to bring the wonder of archaeological discovery to all, and to help us better understand our connection to the past. So far, Dr. Parcak’s techniques have helped locate 17 potential pyramids, in addition to 3,100 potential forgotten settlements and 1,000 potential lost tombs in Egypt — and she's also made significant discoveries in the Viking world and Roman Empire. With the help of citizen scientists across the globe, she hopes to uncover much, much more. This is just the beginning. With additional funding, Dr. Parcak aims to revolutionize how modern archaeology is done altogether, by creating a global network of citizen explorers, opening field schools to guide archaeological preservation on the ground, developing an archaeological institute, and even launching a satellite designed with archaeology in mind.
Here is the link to the web site for GlobalXplorer.
Sign up and participate if you wish. Maybe you'll discover a new important site.
Years ago in this blog I mentioned how archaeology should be making greater use of the multitude of those interested in history and archaeology to identify sites. The trouble is that much of academic archaeology still does not trust the public and often refers to detectorists and treasure hunters as looters. While Sarah Parcak sees the advantage of using the public to help find sites, those who discover new sites are kept informed about progress at the site that they discovered, but they do not have access to the larger database. They are only in the loop for developments pertaining to the site that they discovered.
Florida does not provide open internet access to their master site file. They do not want to tip "looters" off to the location of archaeological sites. They fail to recognize that the public is not only capable of discovering sites, but the same public would also protect those sites. The same sea of eyes that would identify and report discoveries, would also keep a watchful eye for looters. Being informed and involved, more of the public would feel more responsible for archaeological sites and act accordingly.
I know that not all archaeologists have the same paranoia about the public that the say they serve, but there are still those that do.