Finding Lost Pyramids with Satellite Imagery

Caitlin Dempsey


Sarah Parcak, an assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, is featured on an upcoming documentary on BBC entitled “Egypt’s Lost Cities“.  The Egyptologist analyzed satellite imagery to identify over 17 pyramids, 1,000 tombs, and 3,000 ancient settlements previously unknown.  Her team used infra-red imagery to differentiate the denser mud brick material buried under Egyptian silt and soil in Egypt’s Nile Valley Delta.

The BBC episode will air on Monday May 30th.  A modified version of the documentary will also air later in the summer on the Discovery Channel in the United States.

The use of remote sensing in archeology is gaining use as a valuable tool for identifying buried ancient settlements.  NASA has a site outlining its use of remote sensing in archaeology with information about research in the Arenal Region of Costa Rica, and Chaco Canyon, NM.  NOVA also has a writeup on the use of remote sensing in archaeology: The Sky’s Eyes: Remote Sensing in Archaeology.

Egyptian pyramids found by analyzing infra-red satellite images. Research by Dr. Sara Parcak.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.