Space archeology sounds like science fiction: a cross between Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Coincidentally, those were Sarah Parcak's favorite movies when she was growing up. But Parcak is now an Egyptologist, a professor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and an actual space archeologist--she uses high-tech satellite imagery in her on-the-ground work. Archaeology from Space introduces the burgeoning subfield and explores how it is transforming the work of people like Parcak and her colleagues.
Parcak shares her childhood fascination with archeology and her experience on digs, both as a student and a professional. She gives a brief history of space archeology, highlighting the role of aerial photographs, remote-sensing technology and more recent advances in satellite imagery from NASA and other organizations. She then delves into the stories of specific digs and projects she has worked on, which have been profoundly shaped by insights gained from comparing satellite images to sites on the ground. Parcak's love for her field and her deep wonder and excitement come through on every page.
"Discovering a city is only the beginning," she says. Archeologists ask a wealth of questions about every site they come across, and the true gift of her work is "the opportunity to search for those answers."
Clear, accessible and fascinating, peppered with witty asides and informative photos, Archaeology from Space is an excellent introduction to an exciting subfield that's still flying under the (satellite) radar. As Parcak herself says, quoting another of her heroes: "The game is afoot. Expect surprises." --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams