Her work has caused some to refer to Parcak as a modern-age, real-world version of the Indian Jones character made famous in films starring Harrison Ford.
"TED is committed to the ancient tradition of storytelling, and making it relevant to a modern, global audience," Verghese said.
"Sarah's work honors that -- she uses 21st century technology to make the world's ancient, invisible history visible once again."
Parcak is a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she founded the Laboratory for Global Observation.
She has won attention for her work satellite mapping Egypt and uncovering hidden pyramids, tombs and settlements.
Parcak and her team have been credited with also discovering ancient sites in Europe, the Mediterranean and North America as well as extensively mapping looting in Egypt.
The annual TED Prize has grown from $100,000 to a million dollars since it was first awarded in the year 2005, to U2 band leader Bono and his vision of fighting poverty and disease.
The list of previous winners includes oceans-defender Sylvia Earle and StoryCorps founder Dave Isay, whose wish was to use smartphone applications to archive the spoken wisdom of humanity.
The TED community includes scientists, celebrities, politicians, artists, and entrepreneurs.
Since being born in California in 1984, the gathering has grown into a global forum for "ideas worth spreading."
TED has won a worldwide following for trademark "talks" during which accomplished speakers deliver thought-sparking presentations. Videos of talks are available for free online at ted.com.