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5 TED Talks on Archaeology & Cultural Heritage

TED Talks

The Tomb Raider games may have whet your appetite for all things ancient but if you really want to indulge your inner archaeologist, you should put down your game controller and find out what the experts have to say about this exciting field of study. From the use of 3D laser scanning in site preservation to the ongoing search for the origins of our species, these five TED talks offer unique insights into how 21st century archaeology and anthropology are conducted.**

1) Sarah Parcak: Archaeology From Space

In this 5-minute video, TED fellow and archaeologist Sarah Parcak talks about the relatively new field of “space archaeology” and explains how she used satellite imagery to track down the site of the ancient Egyptian city Itjtawy.


2) Ben Kacyra: Ancient Wonders Captured in 3D

The Iraqi-born engineer Ben Kacyra explains why he founded the California-based nonprofit organization CyArk and how 3D laser-scanning technologies can help digitally preserve the world’s cultural heritage sites.


3) Louise Leakey: A Dig for Humanity’s Origins

Renowned palaeontologist Louise Leakey talks about Eastern Africa’s Rift Valley and what the hominid fossils found there can tell us about the evolutionary origins of humankind.


4) Zeresenay Alemseged: The Search for Humanity’s Roots

In this 16-minute video, Ethiopian palaeoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged talks about his search for the earliest signs of humanity and the discovery of Selam, the world’s oldest child, in Ethiopia’s Afar Region.


5) Rajesh Rao: A Rosetta Stone for the Indus Script

Computational neuroscientist Rajesh Rao explains how he is using modern computational techniques to try and decipher the 4,000-year-old Indus script.

** For those who are unfamiliar with TED, TED is a non-profit platform devoted to spreading ideas to help “change attitudes, lives, and ultimately, the world”. Visitors to the TED website will have free access to hundreds of videos and articles on a wide range of subjects, including anthropology, the environment, and even gaming. Even if the five videos listed above don’t take your fancy, you’re bound to find something that piques your interest over on the TED website.


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