Sarah Parcak wins $1 million TED Prize

Sarah Parcak wins $1 million TED Prize

Sarah Parcak wins $1 million TED Prize

Renowned Space archaeologist Dr. Sarah Parcak has won highly regarded TED Prize for her path breaking study on preventing archeological looting through the intelligent use of satellite imagery. She has won as much as $1 million grant from TED for impressive work.

Islamic State that is known more through its acronym ISIS or Daesh in Arabic is plundering ancient archeological sites in Iraq and Syria. But the terrorist organization that controls more than half of Iraq and Syria cannot do the archeological plunder on its own. There are reports claiming that the ISIS is working in cooperation with leading treasure hunters in Europe and elsewhere to sell the loot.

It is said that the proceeds from looting fetches the terrorist outfit hundreds of millions of dollars annually. A report in the New York Times says that archaeologist Sarah H. Parcak from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Laboratory for Global Observation has won $1million TED prize. She is known to have pioneered the field of “satellite archaeology,” using global imaging to catch looters in the act and stop them from destroying ancient artifacts.Sarah Parcak wins TED prize

The archeologist’s work has been appreciated by many leading academic organizations. Parcak has been working on mapping looting activity via satellite imaging for the past few years. Parcak reportedly led a program funded by the National Science Foundation and National Geographic in Egypt that has gone after looting, which was largely exacerbated by the revolution in 2011.

A statement by TED said, “Parcak has a bold, ambitious wish to help uncover and protect the world’s hidden cultural heritage. On February 16, during the TED2016 conference, she will share this $1 million idea in a TED Talk and reveal her plan to make it a reality. Her talk will be livestreamed for free to the world, and posted on shortly after. All will be invited to become a part of her work”.

The importance of her work is sinking slowly. Her work is critical right now, as shown by ISIS’s recent takeover of the ancient city of Palmyra. “The last four and half years have been horrific for archaeology. I’ve spent a lot of time, as have many of my colleagues, looking at the destruction…This Prize is not about me. It’s about our field. It’s about the thousands of men and women around the world, particularly in the Middle East, who are defending and protecting sites” says she.

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