Spotting a potential Viking settlement from space


Archaeologist Sarah Parcak, on the hunt for Viking settlements in North America, turned to satellite imagery to identify potential sites.

An exhaustive analysis of images taken from space identified several “hotspots” in Newfoundland. Multi-spectral imaging revealed what looked like manmade formations underneath vegetation on Point Rosee, a grassy windswept peninsula on the island’s southwest end.

A potentially historic discovery followed.

Read about more events at the U.N. Global Colloquim of University Presidents.

Parcak ’01 described her quest to find the Norse settlement during a presentation on April 6 at the Whitney Humanities Center. Her talk kicked off more than a week of public events focused on the preservation of global cultural heritage, offered in conjunction with the United Nations Global Colloquium of University Presidents convening at Yale April 12-13.

Parcak’s pioneering use of space-based imagery in archaeology earned her the 2016 TED Prize and the unofficial job title of “space archaeologist.” She has used satellite imagery to expose and chart the widespread looting of key archeological sites in Egypt.