Saturday, 4 February 2017

'Space Archaeologist' Might be Teaching Future Looters Their Trade

Associate Professor at the University of Aswan and founder of Egypt’s Heritage Task Force, Dr Mona Hanna, makes an important point about Sarah Parcak's 'new technique' (sic)
that will be available online and promises to turn anyone into a space archaeologist able to identify undiscovered heritage sites using space satellites from the comfort of their own home. On the surface, this powerful new resource is well-intentioned and could inspire a new generation of explorers and discoveries; but in an ailing post-2011 Egypt, could it have a disastrous effect in aiding looters to pillage Egypt - and other countries riddled with conflicts - of their ancient cultural treasures? [...]   Although this wonderfully grand idea of creating an army of explorers could enter us into a new age of understanding the origin of mankind, it will also provide looters with the knowledge required to rob Egypt of its priceless heritage. “What she is providing is a double-edged weapon. Of course, I am in support of an open source platform that will help academics, but Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Syria and others will all face pandemic looting, which is already happening. The last thing we need, especially with the absence of law enforcement in unstable or conflict zones, is to tell looters where to exactly look,” explains Hanna.
Eihab Boraie, 'Why a TED Prize Winning Platform May Inadvertently Rob Egypt of Its Buried Antiquities' Cairo Scene 13th January 2017.

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