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Exploring Space Lectures

Ancient Cities and Landscapes from Space: How Remote Sensing is Transforming Archaeology

Presenter: Dr. Timothy Murtha, Professor, University of Florida

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Presented Online and at the National Museum of the American Indian

Free, Registration Required

Discover how space technology and the exploration of ancient cities intersect 

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Remote sensing can be used in archeology to better identify, document, and study ancient cities and landscapes. In this Exploring Space lecture, anthropologist, landscape archaeologist and professor Timothy Murtha will review and describe the transformative influence of over five decades of remote sensing advancements in archaeology. This work is built on a foundation of a decades-long effort by NASA scientists and NASA-supported research like the Space Archaeology program, to advance our understandings about the deep past here on Earth.

This program will explore the broad history of this research, with particular focus on recent developments documenting and understanding Ancient Maya history. From the emergence of cities, to how landscapes were transformed to meet the demands of an increasingly urbanized landscape, to the collapse and abandonment of Classic Maya cities, the ancient Maya landscape offers a critical narrative about how households, communities, and landscapes were transformed and were resilient across a nearly 3,000 year history. This narrative is only now emerging thanks to decades of effort from remote sensing in archaeology.

This program will be presented in-person in the Rasmuson Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, located on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and will be streamed live on YouTube with live closed captioning. Registration is required for in person attendance and encouraged for online viewing.

Register to attend in person at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Register to attend online.


About the Exploring Space Lecture Series

Eyes on Earth

Access to space hasn’t just allowed us to learn more about stars and other planets, it has also given us new tools and a new vantage point from which to learn about our home on Earth and the complex and interacting systems that make it a habitable world. The 2022 Exploring Space Lecture Series will highlight work done in space today to better understand our shared history with our planet, with remote sensing, human observation, and exoplanet science searching for new Earths. Discover all the programs in this year’s series.

The Exploring Space Lecture Series is made possible by the generous support of Aerojet Rocketdyne and United Launch Alliance.