NPR Story
12:58 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Explorers Reflect On 125 Years Of National Geographic

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 1:18 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Back in 1999, I went along with Robert Ballard on a radio expedition to the Black Sea, where he hoped to find evidence that what's now a vast inland ocean was once a small freshwater lake. A controversial theory holds that thousands of years ago, the waters of the Mediterranean Sea suddenly burst through in a flood that may have inspired the story of Noah.

Ballard had identified what looked like an ancient beach hundreds of feet below the surface and lowered an oyster dredge to haul up a sample of the bottom. As it happened, the great underwater archaeologist George Bass was also aboard that day, and Ballard told him he hoped to find round rocks, absolute evidence there used to be a beach down there.

When the dredge hauled up a cubic foot of muck, Ballard stuck his arm in elbow-deep and hauled out...

ROBERT BALLARD: Round, round.

(LAUGHTER)

CONAN: Ballard turns and flips the stone to George Bass.

GEORGE BASS: Congratulations. That's very nice, very nice.

BALLARD: The most beautiful beach pebbles.

BASS: It was incredible. I mean, he just reached in, and I couldn't believe it. It was a rounded pebble, and he just tossed it over to me. There it was.

BALLARD: It was fun to tell him in advance what we're going to find.

CONAN: You heard that moment of discovery in an NPR National Geographic radio expedition and read about it in National Geographic magazine. This month, National Geographic celebrates its 125th birthday. So tell us: what one story, what one issue have you kept to read and reread? 800-989-8255. Email talk@npr.org. You can join the conversation on our website, too. Go to npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

Later in the program, the stories of Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall, but first, 125 years of National Geographic. And we begin with National Geographic explorer-in-residence Robert Ballard. He joins us from a studio at Yale University in New Haven, not too far from his Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Connecticut. Hey, Bob.

BALLARD: Good morning, or is it afternoon? It's afternoon now.

CONAN: I think it's afternoon here on the East Coast, anyway. That was just one day in the Black Sea. What else have you found there?

BALLARD: Well, it got even better. Last year, you know, remember that thought that we would find the perfectly preserved shipwreck? And we did, we found an amazingly well-preserved shipwreck with its mast up and rigging. Well, last year we found a shipwreck from the time of the Classical period, and it had human remains.

CONAN: My goodness, that's preserved down in water where there's no oxygen so no wood borers to eat the timbers.

BALLARD: Or eat the people. I mean, this is a skeleton of a sailor that sank, you know, 500 years before the birth of Christ. I mean, that's quite amazing.

CONAN: And so these shipwrecks, you theorized, would be there, turned out to be there, and we're learning things we never knew.

BALLARD: Exactly, and, you know, there's - the deep sea is the largest museum in the world. I mean, it has more history in it than all the museums of the world combined. But unfortunately there's no guard on the door. That's our biggest trouble.

(LAUGHTER)

CONAN: Well, and there's a stiff entry fee, too.

BALLARD: Yes, well, but, you know, the damage being done by the trawlers is really quite sad. We've been documenting - one of my students actually did his Ph.D. on how much of ancient history has been destroyed by the fishing trawlers. They're not doing it on purpose, but they're down there after the fish, but in so doing just go over and destroy the ancient shipwrecks.

CONAN: And these have been waters that have trawled for literally thousands of years.

BALLARD: Yes, but more, you know, deeper recently. They're getting deeper and deeper, and that's the problem. They're down now to 500 meters. So it's sad to think how much history has been destroyed by these trawlers - a lot.

CONAN: You grew up, of course all of us did, with National Geographic. Is there some issue that you keep and reread?

BALLARD: Absolutely, Beebe's books on creatures of the deep scattering layer. When I first saw those as a kid, they scared the living bejeeniors(ph) out of me, and these things look like saber-toothed tigers in the wrappings of a fish, and the only thing that saved me was when I read they were two inches. I'm so glad they weren't bigger. I would never have gone into the ocean.

(LAUGHTER)

CONAN: Beebe went, descended into the depths in a giant cannonball with a window on it.

BALLARD: Yeah, a Bathysphere. It was lowered on a cable, I mean, and he saw these amazing creatures of the deep scattering layer and then took pictures of them but also sketched them and published them in National Geographic. And those are the issues that I remember the most.

CONAN: And interestingly the similar kind of construction, not too different, well, that was Alvin, the submarine that you used.

BALLARD: Well, actually it had a ball like that, but it was on a cable. I mean, this was a wrecking ball. I mean, I wouldn't do that. It was crazy. And he went down in a wrecking ball. And in fact the pressure pushed the cable down inside the pressure hull, and they - back then, this is in the '20s and '30s, they didn't have the technology for camera systems. So he literally shined - he had two portholes.

He shined a light out of one of them and photographed with a camera with the other one. It was a hoot.

CONAN: We're talking with Robert Ballard, who among his many other honors is a explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic. We want to hear what issue of the Geographic you've kept all these years, 800-989-8255. Email talk@npr.org. Russ is on the line with us from Boone in North Carolina.

RUSS: Hi there.

CONAN: Hi, go ahead.

RUSS: Yeah, I was blessed to have a gift from my grandmother. She sent me, every year for my birthday, National Geographic magazine. And the one that I find most interesting was 1981, December, and that was on the ocean. And it talked about even then, back in 1981, there were only two billion people on the planet, and they were talking about how they felt that it could support energy, and they were looking ahead to the ocean to support us energywise, foodwise.

But they were also talking about the United Nations prediction that by the year 2100, the swarms will reach the staggering figure of 11 billion. And so I find that, I find it, you know, sad really that by, you know, 2013 most of our oceans are becoming depleted. But it's still I find it's interesting that we know more about the moon than we do about the ocean.

BALLARD: Well, you must have been born in December because that was the December issue, wasn't it, 1981? And in that issue, if you still have it, I published a piece of artwork that was sort of the vision of the future in underwater exploration of telepresence, and it took us all these years, but that vision published in the December 1981 issue of the magazine that you have is now coming online at our Inner Space Center, so cool.

RUSS: Very nice. Very nice.

CONAN: Russ, thanks very much for the call.

RUSS: Thank you very much.

CONAN: Joining us here...

BALLARD: I didn't set that up, Neal, I want you to know.

(LAUGHTER)

CONAN: I know, when you (unintelligible). Terry Garcia is with us here in Studio 3A, executive vice president for Mission Programs for the National Geographic Society. Other than seeding our telephone lines with serendipitous callers, he's in charge of, well, looking at some of these missions that National Geographic funds. And what's your criterion?

TERRY GARCIA: Oh, I have the pleasure of seeing all of them. It's an unusual job. You know, we've - over the years I've learned that you never say no; never reject anything out of hand...

CONAN: Oh, I have this project...

GARCIA: You know, and I will listen to you. And I get a lot of strange ideas and proposals that come my way, but you never know. And the reason I say that is that - and Bob is an example of this, his work is an example. We are just beginning to explore. We believe, I believe that the 21st century is going to be the greatest age of exploration in the history of mankind.

And we're embarking upon an exciting new era in exploration, and a lot of that is due to technology, to new technology that's, you know, opening doors that have been closed to us in the past and giving us insight into sometimes the unknown, but sometimes it gives us the ability to see things that we've been watching, we've been looking at for centuries, but you have a different outlook or a different take on it.

CONAN: Bob, you told me once a story, speaking of technology, of going down in Alvin with a couple of scientists, and you were in charge of the dive and after hours descending to the ocean depths, you turned around and said, well, here we are, and the scientists weren't looking at the portholes, they weren't looking at the windows, they weren't using those lights, they were looking at their computer screens.

BALLARD: Exactly, in fact that was Holger Jannasch, when we returned with biologists for the first time in 1979 to the hydrothermal vents we'd discovered in the Galapagos Islands, which rewrote the biology books, rewrote our thoughts about the origin of life on our planet and elsewhere in the universe.

And we had brought our - the first digital camera had been developed by RCA in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and we had this little camera on the front. And we landed amongst these giant tubeworms, and I turned my back to the window because I was operating the camera from a rack, and all of a sudden Holger Jannasch was on my shoulder.

And I said: What are you doing? He said: Well, I'm looking at the TV monitor. And I said: Well, why are you doing that? He says: Better than out the window. I can see better. And I went: Wait a minute, we went to all this trouble to get down here, and you're going to look at a TV monitor.

And that's what triggered that article in the December 1981 issue, the realization that you could bring your spirit to the bottom, but you could leave your body behind.

CONAN: Terry Garcia?

GARCIA: And this technology is allowing us to do things not just underwater but above it. For example, we have a project that we've been working on for about five years now, where we're using the science of genetics to understand the migratory history of the human race, how we as a species came to populate this planet after that great diaspora out of Africa.

So it's opening up windows there. We use CT scanning to understand, you know, the health and possibly the death of King Tut. So it's opening up a whole array of opportunities to answer questions that we've had for centuries.

CONAN: Let's get Steve...

BALLARD: Now they're looking for Genghis Khan, too, with technology.

CONAN: They found Richard III, but that's...

(LAUGHTER)

CONAN: Steven(ph) is on the line with us from Sunnyvale, California.

STEVEN: Hi.

CONAN: Which issue of the Geographic do you keep?

STEVEN: Well, for me it was the 1972 issue, and it featured a story called "Happy Birthday Otto Lilienthal." It was about the first hang gliding competition that had ever happened in the United States. And it was a pivotal experience for me because both myself and everyone I know who hang glides from that generation saw that issue, and that's what inspired them and motivated them to get into the sport.

CONAN: Otto Lilienthal of course the experimenter and glider who, among other people, inspired the Wright Brothers.

STEVEN: Yes, and so this was in the '70s, and this was the first - it was sort of an informally organized meet, and the author in the article took a flight on a bamboo and plastic hang glider, and there were beautiful pictures. And as an 11-year-old kid, and when I saw this I just had to go hang gliding, and I've been hang gliding for 30-some years, ever since I saw that article.

CONAN: Thanks very much for the call, Steven, and maybe you'd order a back issue to keep that one from getting too dog-eared.

STEVEN: OK, yeah, I probably will, thanks.

CONAN: Tell us, what's the one story from an issue of National Geographic you turn back to over and over again? 800-989-8255. Email us, talk@npr.org. You can let us know on Twitter, as well. We're @totn. We'll have more in a minute. I'm Neal Conan. Stay with us. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan. In some households, a collection of National Geographics was kind of like a row of encyclopedias, an essential reference, a source of information for grade-school reports on whales or geology, an inspiration for dreams in the time between classes.

These days, it's rare to turn to an actual physical encyclopedia. Indeed, the Encyclopedia Britannica released its final print edition last year, though you can still buy sets of the World Book Encyclopedia. But those stacks of NatGeos, with their golden spines, arresting photography and stories of discovery still beckon.

So call, tell us: What's the one story or issue of the magazine you've held onto to read again and again? 800-989-8255. Email us, talk@npr.org. And you can join the conversation on our website. Go npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION. Our guests - Robert Ballard, explorer-in-residence; and Terry Garcia, executive vice president for Mission Programs - are here to mark 125 years of the National Geographic Society. Let's go to Jeanie(ph), Jeanie on the line with us from Medford in Oregon.

JEANIE: Hi, I remember in the past whenever I had to move, my friends would offer to help. And they'd go: Wait, you're not still lugging around that 100 pounds of National Geographics, are you?

(LAUGHTER)

JEANIE: My favorite of all time was called "Alone Across the Outback," May 1978, the woman and her camels that went all the way to the Indian Ocean. And I also loved "Battle of Midway" and "The Blues Highway."

CONAN: The "Battle of Midway," Bob, you had something to do with that.

BALLARD: Yeah, we did that one. That was hunting down the Yorktown. That was a tough one.

CONAN: A long expedition. It was a childhood dream of mine to eventually get someday to Midway Island, which I'd read so much about as a kid, and the battle there, of course. And to actually be along with Bob in the hunt for the USS Yorktown was quite an honor. Jeanie, thanks very much for the call.

JEANIE: You're right. Thank you.

CONAN: Here's a - this is a tweet, actually, that we have from Joe in Janesville. He says: I have a mental image preserved of the National Geographic story from the late 1950s to early 1960s of Death Valley. I made two trips covering all the highlights from the magazine piece.

Joining us now is Sarah Parcak, she's an associate professor of archaeology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham one of the National Geographic's emerging explorers. Good of you to be with us today.

SARAH PARCAK: Thank you for having me.

CONAN: And you use satellite imagery. Well, people will understand that. But then the next part they may have a hard time understanding - as an archaeologist.

PARCAK: That's right. You know, when you think about the scale of human populations all over the world and the fact that there's so much here, you know, really the only way to be able to visualize that is to pull back in space. And that not only gives us this incredible perspective of height, but it allows us to see in different parts of the light spectrum and allows us to see things that we literally have been walking over on the ground for many, many years.

It allows us to see hidden temples and tombs and pyramids and even entire settlements.

CONAN: Wait a minute, pyramids?

PARCAK: Pyramids, yes. There are so many previously unknown sites and structures all over the world. And I think most importantly what satellites help to show us is we've actually only found a fraction of a percent of ancient settlements and sites all over the world.

So what Terry was saying earlier about the 21st century being the greatest exploration, the greatest period of time for discovery, it's true for archaeology. It's the most exciting time in history to be an archaeologist.

CONAN: And what Bob Ballard says about the ocean floor, we haven't even begun to touch it. Well, obviously we've explored much more of the Earth's surface, the earthen part of it. But you're saying we didn't know what we were seeing.

PARCAK: That's right. I mean, all over the world, we're finding out that, you know, whether it's Egypt or Syria or Central America, what satellites are showing is that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of previously unknown settlements all over the world, and what archaeology does it helps us to understand this common humanity that we have.

And by understanding that, you know, it really gives us a great sense of purpose and helps us understand why we're here.

CONAN: Can you give us a for instance of something you spotted from space and then were able to confirm?

PARCAK: Sure, well, in Egypt I do survey work on the ground. That's really the most important part of using satellite images. You know, it helps us to find potential locations for sites, and then we get to go there on the ground and confirm what we've seen.

And one particular instance is I was able to do remote sensing work and do a big survey project in Middle Egypt, and I was able to find about 70 previously unknown sites. And what that helps to do is to confirm the methodology I was using and helped me to realize that there were actually thousands of unknown sites all over Egypt.

So we used similar techniques and actually mapped all of Egypt and found over 3,000 potential sites all over Egypt that weren't known previously.

CONAN: Terry Garcia, what did you...?

GARCIA: Yeah, you know, another good example is the work that Albert Lin has been doing in Mongolia, where he's using satellite imagery and actually enlisting the public in the search for Genghis Khan's tomb. And so what he has done is to take high-resolution satellite imagery, chop it up, put it out to the public and say, look, we're looking for these anomalies. Help us find the tomb.

And so there - this technology is being used all around the world now by explorers, by archaeologists, anthropologists and others.

CONAN: Bob Ballard, we have also used satellite technology to create maps of the underwater world.

BALLARD: Yeah, actually you can get a rough idea of the main features beneath the sea from synthetic aperture radar in outer space, and you're able to actually - when water moves over a mountain, it actually rises slightly. When it goes over a trench, it goes down slightly. And we're actually able to sort out the normal wave patterns and actually see that reflection of topography.

But it's sort of like taking a wet blanket and putting it over a dinner table. you know where the candelabra might be, but you don't know what's underneath it. So it gives you a first-order look. And we use it all the time to then home in on places that look really exciting. So yes, that's been a very important guide to first-order figuring out what's down there.

CONAN: Let's get another caller in, go to Scott, Scott with us from Jacksonville.

SCOTT: Hi, how are you doing? My comment was just about an issue I kept. My father was a professor at Arizona State. He specialized in conservation biology. And I kept an issue, I actually have one, that the Japanese National Geographic crew was sent into an area in Mexico, Cuatro Cienegas. And NASA had given ASU a grant to understand and study isolated ecosystems.

And there was a hot spring in a valley there, and these springs, some of them were hot, but the thing was that these springs were isolated, and it kept the local flora and fauna in a very arid region, but these springs were right there, and he would study the systems. And it's just an issue I kept to remember him, so...

CONAN: So your father was in the issue?

SCOTT: Yes he was, he was.

CONAN: And was that one of the Japanese magazines?

SCOTT: No, it ran in the U.S. one, as well. I have an English copy. But the crew that went down with us was Japanese, and it was interesting that they sent a Japanese crew down to study and do underwater shots with us.

CONAN: All right, Scott, thank you very much.

SCOTT: Thank you.

CONAN: Terry?

GARCIA: You know, we've touched on this now a couple of times, but I think I should point out to your listeners that National Geographic has made more than 10,000 grants. So oftentimes people think of us as a magazine, or they may think of us as a television broadcaster, but really our heart is in exploration. That was the original intent of the founders, to fill in those blank spaces in the map, and then to communicate what we found to a broad public.

So it's important to keep that in mind, that we're still making those grants. In fact, we've decided to up the ante and increase that grant enterprise and support field research around the world and go way beyond just 10,000 grants.

CONAN: I was interested to read, in fact, that a couple of early members of the board quit in disgust upon the publication of photographs in the magazine. They said it was becoming a mere picture book.

GARCIA: Well, you know, it was quite scandalous, and Alexander Graham Bell, who was one of the first presidents - in fact he was the second president - he said, pictures and plenty of them, and instructed the editor, Gilbert Grosvenor, then to publish photographs. And it was scandalous. Several trustees threatened to resign, and fortunately he stuck to his guns, and it's the National Geographic we have today.

CONAN: Here's an email, this is from Nancy: One photo a day, a famous photographer set himself a task he would take only one photo a day. The photographer was Jim Brandenburg, and the issue was published November 1997. And he took one photograph a day for 90 days.

Let's see if we can get Patrick on the line, Patrick with us from St. Louis.

PATRICK: Hi, how are you doing? My father has had a wall filled with National Geographics that went back to the '20s and predating those, I'm sure. And I used many of those for school activities and projects. One of those was on the moon and on Mars, and I'm reminded of these old issues that he had that had fold-out maps and were beautiful.

And Mr. Garcia, I want to say thank you very much for all that you do and all the National Geographic does. And, Mr. Bob Ballard, you are a hero to child explorers everywhere. Thank you.

GARCIA: Our pleasure.

BALLARD: Thank you.

CONAN: Patrick, thanks very much for the call. And Bob, not just the activities that most people will know about, but you do a lot of work with kids.

BALLARD: Oh, very much so, with Geographic as well, our JASON Project, over 11 million children. And actually, it's just about to take off. We're going to establish what's called the Exploration Room. We've got other ships now coming into our Inner Space Center, and we hope to launch in June an amazing program for kids where we have ships at sea every day.

CONAN: Sarah Parcak, we wanted to go back to you in Alabama, there. What is the one issue of National Geographic you've kept all these years?

PARCAK: Well, I'd say anything with Egypt in it. That's...

CONAN: That's a lot of issues.

PARCAK: Yeah, it's quite a few issues. It's what I would look forward to. And, in fact, I credit - it's both Indiana Jones and National Geographic that inspired me to be an Egyptologist. I would just wait every month by my parents' mailbox and just hope that that month, something about Egypt would appear, and I would just devour it and read it again and again. So I credit National Geographic with inspiring me to do what I do.

CONAN: And how much more work do you have to do with your satellite imagery? I assume there's lots of Earth left to be pored over.

PARCAK: Oh, I mean, I have enough for a thousand lifetimes, which is why it's critical that we train future generations. I have funding now from the National Science Foundation to help set up a training program in Egypt for young Egyptians to help train them in the use of these new technologies.

And it's absolutely critical, you know, to train young men and women not just to find sites, but also to protect sites, especially in the wake of the Arab Spring. There's been significant site-looting in Egypt and elsewhere across the Middle East. So it's an amazing tool, and we have to train future generations not only to be able to find sites, but to protect them for future generations.

CONAN: Here's an email we have from Shelly in Maryland: We've moved 12 times - Marine Corps - and have carried our boxes of Nat Geo along for each. Many were saved from my grandfather from the 1930s. My favorites are the original space-race issues, and the issue about sailing the Nile before the Aswan Dam was finished. Love the mag. Thank you very much.

We're talking about the 125th anniversary of National Geographic. Terry Garcia, vice president for Mission Programs of the National Geographic Society. With us also, Bob Ballard, ocean explorer and explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic, and Sarah Parcak, a associate professor of archaeology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and she's joining us from there. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News.

And let's see if we can go to Jennifer, Jennifer with us from Indianapolis.

JENNIFER: Hi. A couple of years ago, there was a fabulous issue where they descended into a volcanic crater on Papua, New Guinea. And there apparently was an isolated breeding population there, and they discovered several hitherto unknown species, including some mammals that apparently just walked right up to the photographers and weren't afraid of them at all. So maybe you can tell us more about it. I haven't read it in a while. I'm going to go home to reread it right now, but it was just amazing.

CONAN: I'm not sure that we can give you an answer on that particular story, but is there any count on the numbers of new and unknown creatures that have been uncovered by Geographic explorers over the years?

GARCIA: No. I don't know that there's a count. But I can tell you, almost every time we send a biologist into the field, we find something new.

CONAN: Thanks very much for the call, Jennifer. Sorry we couldn't help...

JENNIFER: Thank you.

CONAN: ...more with that. Here's an email from Arum(ph): My Nat Geo story is in the mid-'80s issue about Australia, maybe 1986, in the middle of America's fascination with Aus. It was fuel for my dreams of the land down under. In '06, I fulfilled my dream and spent a month in Australia. So glad I went. So glad I lived my dream.

And let's go now to Heather, and Heather's on the line with us from Honolulu.

HEATHER: Hi. This is about an issue that I wish I had kept, but it's been burned into my memory since I was a little kid. It was the late '70s, and we received an issue about whales. And growing up in Hawaii, we had always - we could see whales, but I had no idea what they sounded like.

And included in this issue was a very thin vinyl record, a 45, that you could tear out and put on the old-school record player. And I would sit and listen to it over and over, mesmerized by the sound of what those huge creatures - what they sounded like.

CONAN: The songs of the humpbacked whale.

HEATHER: Incredible. And I just - it's just - I have a four-year-old daughter now, and we live in Hawaii still, and I - you know, we talk about whales. And I had to go online, unfortunately - I was so sad to not have this record - so that I can play for her what the sounds were. But, yeah, it was - it's incredible.

CONAN: Bob Ballard, we think of the underwater world as silent. As we just heard, obviously, it's not and, obviously, that's not the only sound.

BALLARD: Oh, no. There's a tremendous amount of noise, so to speak, but beautiful noise. And the whales learned long ago that there's a particular layer in the ocean called the sound channel. It's about a thousand meters down. We discovered it in the '50s, but the whales discovered it, like, millions of years ago, and they can make sounds that will travel great distances in the sound channel. So, no, there's a lot of noise going on down there, but you just have to listen.

(LAUGHTER)

CONAN: Terry Garcia?

GARCIA: Well, I wanted to bring up another point. You know, I've had the pleasure of having hundreds of photographers and explorers come through my office over the years, and they've all stopped on their way into the field as they were going out to search for the truth, whatever that truth might be.

And I can tell you that almost without exception, when they return, they return as individuals who are committed to conserving what we're losing. Because what they're seeing out there as we send these people into the field is that the natural, cultural and historical resources that we've highlighted in the magazine and that we've highlighted on our television programs over the years are disappearing. They're starting to slip away from us. And one thing that we believe is that exploration can do more than just explore, just answer those unknown questions, but it can inspire. And it can inspire people to care. It can inspire them to act. And we have a number of examples of where that's happened, which I'll tell you about in a moment.

CONAN: Heather, well, you know, you won't - but Heather...

(LAUGHTER)

CONAN: ...we have - you have a kindred soul, Anne in Burlington, Washington: Most memorable, sitting, as a middle-schooler, listening to the whale sounds on a little plastic record included in my magazine. Don't know what year it was, early '70s. I think they printed 10 million copies of that particular record. But thank you very much for the call and for the - refreshing our recollection.

HEATHER: Thank you.

CONAN: Here's another emailer, this from Maria in Tucson: My mother told me she was in an issue of the magazine before I was born. It was about Cape Cod, where she spent summers with her family. I found the magazine in the stack at a thrift shop in Seattle, and there she was: a wide-faced teenager singing by the firelight on the beach. I think it was a 1962 issue. But at the moment, I can't find it. I think she may spend the rest of the day looking for it. But Terry Garcia, thank you very much...

GARCIA: My pleasure.

CONAN: ...for your time today. And our thanks, as well, to Sarah Parcak at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Good to speak with you.

PARCAK: Thanks very much.

CONAN: And, Bob, hope to see you soon.

BALLARD: Well, come with us to sea again.

CONAN: I'd love to. In yesterday's inaugural address, President Obama drew a line from Seneca Falls through Selma to Stonewall. We'll hear those stories of those places next, on NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.