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Saturday, January 9, 2016

'Aren't you putting people like Indiana Jones out of business?' Colbert asks Alabama archaeologist on 'Late Night' | AL.com


http://www.al.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2016/01/alabama_space_archeologist_app.html

'Aren't you putting people like Indiana Jones out of business?' Colbert asks Alabama archaeologist on 'Late Night'

UAB archaeologist Sarah Parcak appeared on "Late Night with Stephen Colbert" on Jan. 8, 2016 to tout her 2016 TED Prize and its accompanying $1 million grant. (YouTube)
By Erin Edgemon | eedgemon@al.com
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on January 09, 2016 at 5:14 PM, updated January 09, 2016 at 5:22 PM

UAB professor Sarah Parcak

UAB archaeologist Sarah Parcak appeared on "Late Night with Stephen Colbert" Friday night to tout her 2016 TED Prize and its accompanying $1 million grant

Parcak, who is sometimes called a modern-day Indiana Jones, presented Colbert with the character's trademark fedora.

"Aren't you putting people like Indiana Jones out of business?" Colbert asked the professor.

Parcak smiled and explained how she uses satellites to uncover lost civilizations.

"Think about what would happen if Indiana Jones and Google Earth had a lovechild," she said. "I use high-resolution and NASA satellites and look for subtle differences on the surface of the earth that locate buried ancient pyramids and towns and ancient tombs, which we then go and excavate."

Parcak's work has helped locate 17 potential pyramids in Egypt, 3,100 forgotten settlements and 1,000 lost tombs around the world.

She said she is constantly surprised by how many artifacts her team finds.

"Literally everywhere I look there are thousands upon thousands of sites," Parcak said. "Even when I sure we are not going to find something in a place, we find something.

She explained by her job is truly extraordinary.

"We have survived as a species for over 100,000 years," Parcak said. "What is amazing to me as an archaeologist is that the more and more I study I realize we are resilient, we are creative, we are brilliant, and this is what makes us human and that hasn't changed  since we've been human."

With the $1 million prize, Parcak gets to decision her own program.  Her plan will be revealed on Feb. at the annual TED Conference.

"We are tipping point right now with archeology," she said.  The scale of discovery is incredible ... have to do something now to preserve them."