Satellite images reveal 17 lost Egyptian pyramids

Posted by Kate Taylor

An archaeologist at the University of Alabama in Birmingham says she's discovered 17 lost pyramids in Egypt - without even leaving her desk.

Egyptologist Sarah Parcak used infra-red satellite imaging to find the pyramids, along with more than 1,000 tombs and 3,100 ancient settlements.

Her team used images from a combination of NASA and commercial satellites orbiting 400 miles above the Earth. The infrared images differentiated between different materials beneath the surface, showing the outline of ancient walls.

Once possible sites were discovered via satellite, a team of French excavators confirmed what Parcak saw in the images from space.

"I couldn't believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt,” she told the BBC, in a documentary which airs this week in the UK and on the US' Discovery channel later this summer.

"To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist."

At Tanis, for example, Parcak discovered an ancient network of streets and houses, which are completely invisible from the ground.

"This hints at the possibilities of discoveries to come," she said. "I am excited for my generation and the generations to come. There is enough to be excavated for 50 generations."

Parcak isn't the first archeologist to search for sites from the sky. Earlier this year, Australian professor David Kennedy claimed to have discovered nearly two thousand archaeological sites in Saudi Arabia, simply by using Google Earth.