Sarah Parcak will have to carve out some time in her schedule to pick up an award. The US archaeologist, dubbed the ”real-life Indiana Jones”, has been announced as the 2016 TED Prize winner for her work tracking down antiquities and combating looting from ancient sites using infrared satellite imagery.
The Egyptology specialist is associate professor of anthropology and director of the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the US. She is credited with helping to map 17 potential pyramids, 1,000 tombs and 3,100 unknown settlements in Egypt. She and her team have also discovered ancient sites in Europe, the Mediterranean and North America.
In a statement Ms Parcak said: “I am honoured to receive the TED Prize, but it’s not about me; it’s about our field – and the thousands of men and women around the world, particularly in the Middle East, who are defending and protecting sites.”
You could say that. Previously winners include Bono, Bill Clinton and Jamie Oliver. Ms Parcak has been rewarded for her contribution to the preservation of historic sites with $1m (£660,000) of funding.
Ms Parcak plans to use it to continue her work repairing the damage of the past four-and-a-half years, which she said had been “horrific for archaeology” due to excessive looting around historic sites and violence in the Middle East. She will unveil her plans in further detail in February 2016.