Were you a fan of the Indiana Jones movies? If so, they may have sparked your interest in archaeology. The films definitely made the hunt for artifacts seem like a magnificent adventure.
Although, traveling all over the world searching for treasure isn't a simple prospect. Good news, there is now a way for you to play the role of amateur archaeologist without leaving the comfort of your own home.
National Geographic Fellow, Dr. Sarah Parcak, has launched a website that brings the world of archaeological discovery to everyone.
What is GlobalXplorer?
GlobalXplorer is an online platform that makes satellite images available to archaeologists accessible to everyone.
Dr. Parcak's goal is to revolutionize how modern archaeology is performed altogether. She intends to accomplish this by creating a global network of citizen explorers, opening field schools to guide archaeological preservation on the ground, develop an archaeological institute, and even launch a satellite designed with archaeology in mind.
To this point, Dr. Parcak's techniques have helped locate 17 potential pyramids, in addition to 3,100 potential forgotten settlements and 1,000 potential lost tombs in Egypt. She has also made significant discoveries in the Roman Empire as well as the Viking world.
This is only the beginning. She hopes to uncover much more with the help of citizen scientists across the globe.
One activity Dr. Parcak particularly needs help with is looting. This is a major problem. Ancient artifacts are being stolen at an alarming rate by opportunists who come across them before archaeologists have a chance to get to them. An estimated 10,000 looted artifacts are for sale on the black market on any given day.
Dr. Parcak said, "We're not just losing objects, we're losing opportunities to discover who we are. The last five years have been horrific for archaeology. My colleagues and I have spent countless hours surveying the destruction, and the bad news trickles out in the press. Every day, we read reports of stolen ancient treasures sold at major auction houses, of incredible ancient sites bulldozed in Central America, of revered ancient sites in the Middle East blown up by ISIL."
You can help. With GlobalXplorer, you can look for signs of looting on the high-resolution satellite images that are available.
Spotting looting sites is relatively simple once you know what you are looking for. Watch this video tutorial and you will be an expert in no time.
Over 1.6 million tiles were inspected by over 15,000 volunteers in only a couple days after the site launched. If you want to explore, click here and sign up on the GlobalXplorer site, it's free.