Indiana Jones had to eat chilled monkey brains, escape from snake pits and punch Nazis. I’m at home in my pajamas, looking at blurry bits of ground and using 90 seconds of training to click “yes” or “no” to the question: “Do you see evidence of looting pits in the white highlighted area?”This is archaeology in the digital (and, er, real, and very amateur) age.
A new project invites armchair Indianas everywhere to survey isolated tiles of satellite imagery, marking them as potential sites of interest or, in my case today, crime scenes. GlobalXplorer is the idea of Sarah Parcak, an American “space archaeologist” and leader in the booming field of remote sensing. She has used such images, and various techniques to examine them, to find thousands of ancient tombs, pyramids and settlements. In 2011, she uncovered an entire city plan at Tanis, the Egyptian site that was the fictional resting place of the ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
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