Parcak, Sarah

Sarah Parcak 2012-2Sarah Parcak, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology

  • National Geographic Fellow
  • Pioneer in the emerging field of satellite archaeology and an expert in remote-sensing
  • Has discovered more than 3,100 archaeological settlements, thousands of tombs and 17 possible pyramids in Egypt
  • Founded and directs the UAB Laboratory for Global Health Observation, the first satellite remote-sensing laboratory in North America focused on health-based research
  • 2012 TED Fellow
  • 2013 TED Senior Fellow


  • BA, Yale University, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (Egyptology) and Archaeological Studies
  • MA, Cambridge University, Trinity College, Department of Archaeology (Egyptian Archaeology)
  • Ph.D., Cambridge University, Trinity College, Department of Archaeology (Egyptian Archaeology)

Research and Teaching Interests: 

Archaeology, archaeological science, archaeological theory, landscape archaeology, Egyptian archaeology, Egyptology, remote sensing, GIS, public health

Selected media appearances:

(TED) TED Announces 2016 TED Prize Winner: The winner, Sarah Parcak; The wish, To be revealed at TED2016

(New York Times) TED Prize Goes to Archaeologist Who Combats Looting With Satellite Technology

(UAB News) Birmingham space archaeologist uncovers ancient civilizations, teaches the world

(UAB News) Parcak receives European award for archaeological work

(TED) TED Talk video and TED Fellow profile

(National Geographic) New Age of Exploration: Satellite Archaeology

(National Geographic) Explorers Bio

(Washington Post) Amid protests and looting, officials work to preserve Egypt's treasures

(Nature News) Egyptians rally to defend cultural heritage

(Science) Archaeologists hold their breaths on status of Egyptian antiquities

(Live Science) Ancient Egyptian city spotted from space

Follow Sarah on Twitter (@indyfromspace)

Sarah Parcak is from Bangor, Maine. She is a National Geographic Society Archaeology Fellow, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and a 2013 TED Senior Fellow. Sarah serves as the founding director of the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Sarah and her husband, Egyptologist Greg Mumford, work together on the Surveys and Excavation Projects in Egypt, which includes archaeological projects in the Delta, Sinai, and pyramid fields regions of Egypt. Sarah has written the first textbook on the field of satellite archaeology, Satellite Remote Sensing for Archaeology, and has published numerous peer reviewed scientific papers. She is regularly invited to give papers at national and international conferences and symposia. She is also interviewed regularly for national print media (Science, Nature, National Geographic, CNN, BBC). Her research has been featured in two major international BBC-Discovery Chanel Documentaries, "Egypt: What Lies Beneath” and "Rome's Lost Empire." Sarah has worked with NASA and the U.S. State Department, and has collaborators across the globe. She has given 150 talks to a range of audiences worldwide.

Sarah is an avid fan of “football,” as she played varsity football (aka soccer) for Yale and Cambridge, winning her varsity blue and leading Cambridge to a 4-0 defeat of Oxford in the Varsity Match in 2005 with two goals and two assists. She enjoys gardening, cooking, traveling, and learning bluegrass guitar.


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