You, Too, Can Be a Space Archaeologist!

SCIENCE

A new online tool from a Nat Geo explorer enables anyone with Internet access to search satellite images for ancient ruins. (Nat Geo News)

Learn a little about space archaeology.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.

Discussion Ideas

 

 

 

  • How are the citizen scientists of GlobalXplorer° helping professional archaeologists?
    • GlobalXplorer°’s mission is to identify and quantify looting and encroachment to sites of archaeological and historical importance. (Identifying and preventing looting is actually the first “campaign” GlobalXplorers engage in.)
      • More than discovery, however, the program will weed through sites with no tangible cultural heritage, leaving the archaeological fun stuff to the professionals. “All it leaves for us [the professionals] is the 1 to 5 percent of the landscape that might actually contain something interesting.’”

 

  • Wait a minute. Won’t the mapping platform actually help looters identify sites?
    • No! Only the GlobalXplorer° team will have access to the actual satellite maps. The tens of millions of tiles analyzed by participants have been scrubbed of all location and map data. You don’t know quite what you’re looking at, or where it is.
    • The GlobalXplorer° team “will not be creating a map for all sites, because it could fuel looting and add to site destruction. If and when the governments and protection agencies involved feel it’s appropriate, they will release this data directly.”

 

Yeah … no. Even Hiram Bingham’s actual expedition to Machu Picchu probably wasn’t as cool as this romantic image. Illustration by Thomas Blackshear, National Geographic

Yeah … no. Even Hiram Bingham’s actual expedition to Machu Picchu probably wasn’t as cool as this romantic image.
Illustration by Thomas Blackshear, National Geographic

  • What might you expect to see as a GlobalXplorer° in Peru? Machu Picchu? Nazca? Those creepy child mummies?
    • Uh, no. You’re most likely to see:
      • undeveloped land, such as forests, mountains, plains, deserts, or beaches
      • agricultural land, such as cattle ranches or cultivated fields
      • clouds (the satellite is above cloud cover)
      • pits! These large, deep holes are often signs of looting and basically what you’re looking for in the first set of tiles.

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-5-07-04-pm

 

 

 

TEACHERS TOOLKIT

Nat Geo: Watch: How to Become a Space Archaeologist

Wired: Want to Become a Space Archaeologist? Here’s Your Chance

Nat Geo: Space Archaeology

GlobalXplorer°

One response to “You, Too, Can Be a Space Archaeologist!

  1. Reblogged this on Brain Popcorn and commented:
    This is the best thing I’ve read all day. Of course, my brain went first to Daniel Jackson of Stargate SG-1, but he’d be the first to say that this is a fantastic use of satellite technology.

    Go forth and save our history, intrepid space archaeologists!

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