Sarah Parcak introduces the field of “space archeology” — using satellite images to search for clues to the lost sites of past civilizations.
Sarah Parcak is from Bangor, Maine, where she was raised. She had a 1950s childhood, where kids could leave home in the morning on their bikes and be gone all day with friends. Sarah went to Bangor High School, where she played soccer (3 time All-State, 2-time All New England), ran track and field (high jump and long jump, two-time State Champion), and was very active in local and state politics. She wanted a career in politics after meeting President Clinton at Girls Nation.
When it came time to choose a university, she was drawn to Yale for the academics as well as soccer. Her first year, she was lucky to work for a world-famous Egyptologist, Professor William Kelly Simpson, as a researcher. After taking classes in history, political science, and Egyptology, there was no looking back. At Yale, Sarah w
orked for Professor Simpson as well as in the Yale University Art Gallery, and attended her first excavation in Egypt at Mendes, led by Professor Donald Redford of Penn State University. Sarah double-majored in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (Egyptology) and Archaeological Studies. Her Senior year, Sarah took a class that changed her life: Observing the Earth from Space (an introductory class in interpreting satellite imagery), thanks to her grandfather, a forestry professor at the University of Maine who pioneered the use of aerial photography in forestry.
After receiving a Henry Fellowship from Yale, Sarah decided to attend Cambridge University to study under renowned Egyptology Professor Barry Kemp for her M.Phil (2002)and PhD (2005). Her PhD dealt with using satellite imagery and ground survey to map landscapes in the Egyptian Delta and Middle Egypt. Sarah played varsity football (aka “soccer”) for Cambridge, winning her varsity blue and leading Cambridge to a 4-0 defeat of Oxford in the Varsity Match in 2005 with 2 goals and 2 assists.