Move over, Indiana Jones. There's a new type of crazy archaeology in town.
There's a lot of cool stuff going on up in space these days. Over the past few months, it's been revealed that NASA wants to add inflatable expansions to the International Space Station, lasers are (hopefully) going to be used to vaporize space trash, DARPA is investigating long-term space travel, and - oh, yeah - at least one astronaut likes to give neato zero-g flute performances. Now, on top of all this other stuff, it turns out that satellites in orbit are being used to find underground pyramids, tombs, and cities.
It turns out that satellite imagery using infrared technology has been used to detect seventeen lost pyramids, as well as "more than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements". Since the images were created and studied, initial excavations have begun and confirmed the existence of some of the buildings, including two pyramids (one of which is highlighted in the photo here).
This is the culmination of a project led by Dr. Sarah Parcak, an Egyptologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Speaking to the BBC, Parcak was understandably overjoyed about the discoveries:
"We were very intensely doing this research for over a year. I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the 'Aha!' moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we'd found and I couldn't believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.
"To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist," she said.
It turns out that Egyptian authorities plan to use the technology in the future, especially around the Nile River, where thousands of years of silt have covered settlements that were lost and forgotten about long ago.
Parcak's project, and her subsequent journey to validate the infrared images' findings, is documented in the upcoming BBC documentary Egypt's Lost Cities, which will air this coming Monday, May 30th. Now that we're using satellites to discover lost archaeological sites, how much do you want to bet we're going to find a Stargate buried in the sands?