Monday, 30 May 2011

'Space archaeology'

For those that may have missed it (which seems impossible by now), Dr Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama has made a number of 'archaeological discoveries' utilising satellite imagery, including 'More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements.' This is, of course, hugely significant to our field, and i hope it will bring in more interest, research, funding (makes the archaeological world go round), and ultimately more people into the folds of Egypto...what? 'ology'? 'Mania'? Perhaps too pejorative.

Either way, this is sure to attract attention for a while, and hopefully open up new opportunities both within Egypt for the local populace, and without for the various interest groups involved. It is important to remember, however, that such tools are only that: tools. They can be used constructively or...well, not so positively, and I hope these resources are well-managed. We also need to remember that discovery is not excavation, nor is it interpretation, one of the most fundamental, and fundamentally overlooked, aspects of our field. My hope is that we are not so swept up in scientific advancement that we forget the dangers of the positivistic mindset, so evident in early Egyptology.

However, this represents a form of 'progression', in some sense, for Egyptology and archaeology everywhere, and I for one am curious about the possibilities on the horizon...