But that doesn't mean that happy accidents are no longer needed in the quest to uncover the knowledge about prehistoric humans. In fact, Parcak is hoping to solicit the help of interested amateurs to speed up this important work. (Badgers, though, might be out of work in this field.)
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Parcak received a TED Prize for her work using processed satellite imagery for archaeology last year and is using it to start a global movement, housed online at GlobaXplorer, to solicit the time and skill of interested amateurs to help archaeologists locate and identify ancient sites as quickly as possible before they are destroyed by war or looters.
"By building an online citizen science platform and training a 21st century army of global explorers," she said at GlobaXplorer, "We'll find and protect the world's hidden heritage, which contains clues to humankind's collective resilience and creativity."
Instead of stumbling upon ancient remains when doing construction or playing in caves, she is hoping we will go online and help her sift through massive numbers of satellite images, looking for patterns that look like ancient civilizations or buildings. In fact, she asks rather urgently for help since construction, war, and looting do much more to destroy ancient sites than lucky accidents do to preserve them.