Ancient Egypt (02:20)
Experts use satellite imaging on areas of unexplored territory in Egypt to locate ancient cities. Archaeologist Sarah Parcak is a pioneer in using the technology.
Satellite Archaeology (03:58)
Parcak runs a NASA-sponsored archaeology lab at the University of Alabama. Satellites can take high resolution and infrared photographs. Infrared can show density and helps Parcak pinpoint buried buildings.
Egypt's Hidden Past (07:03)
Parcak wants to create an extensive map of Ancient Egypt. She travels to Saqqara to share a satellite image of a possible new pyramid with Egyptologist Mark Lehner. He believes it is a 13th dynasty burial complex.
Giza Pyramids (06:00)
Parcak wants to excavate the possible pyramid site, but must get permission from Egyptian Minister for Antiquities Zahi Hawass. Parcak's possible pyramid was built 500 years after the Giza pyramid.
Egypt's 13th Dynasty (03:48)
There was a resurgence in pyramid building at about 1750 B.C. There were over 60 pharaohs during the dynasty, but only three reigned long enough to have a pyramid built. A pyramidion containing King Ay’s name is at a Cairo museum.
Saqqara Reconstruction (02:03)
Using satellite images and measurements from the pyramidions, Parcak creates a digital reconstruction. The pyramid complex would have had causeways, temples, and docks on the Nile River. Parcak receives permission to excavate the site and prove her theories.
Satellite-Assisted Excavations (07:39)
Hawass is impressed by the images of Saqqara and decides to begin excavation. Parcak finishes the satellite map of the Saqqara plateau, uncovering numerous possible dig sites. A French archaeological team uses Parcak's images of Tanis to assist their excavation.
Prehistoric Egypt (06:12)
Parcak's satellite images show a possible settlement in the Sahara Desert that could pre-date Ancient Egypt. She searches for the cluster of huts in the desert and finds evidence of human activity.
Prehistoric Egyptians (04:52)
Rock artwork that dates back 5,000 years is located throughout the Sahara Desert. When the landscape changed 4,000 years ago, prehistoric Egyptians moved to the Nile River Valley.
Valley of the Kings (03:10)
The valley was built at the height of Ancient Egypt's power; interest in the site has grown since Howard Cater discovered Tutankhamen's tomb. Archeologist John Roma believes there are numerous untouched tombs yet to be discovered in places like Abydos.
Abydos, known as the gateway to the afterlife, contains a royal graveyard for early pharaohs. Parcak uses satellite imaging to find a missing pharaoh's tomb. Archaeologist Gunter Dreyer agrees to dig a test trench but does not find a sunken tomb.
Potential Sites (05:11)
Parcak's map of Upper Egypt contains 1,200 possible ancient sites. Some could be lost palaces or temples. Parcak tries to find sun temples, which were common in fifth dynasty burial complexes.
Satellite evidence suggests the area could be home to the original labyrinth. The maze, which surrounded the tomb of a 13th dynasty king, has disappeared from the surface, but was so massive it became a tourist attraction.
Harem Palace (04:11)
Fayum was once the site of a palace for royal women and children and later a military outpost. Using satellite imaging, Parcak locates palace walls and some internal features underneath the surface.
Many archaeologists believe the lost capital city of the 12th dynasty lies under layers of silt from the Nile floodplain. Parcak identifies a branch of the Nile that passed through the proposed location and joins an archaeological dig. They find evidence that points to a rich city.
Future of Egyptology (07:48)
Parcak has located over 1,250 possible sites throughout Egypt. Political unrest of the Arab Spring forces Hawass' excavation at Saqqara to stop. Parcak sees evidence of looting at archaeological sites, but is optimistic about future work in Egypt.
Credits: Egypt - What Lies Beneath? (00:29)
Credits: Egypt - What Lies Beneath?
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