Indy’s Footprint: Archaeology, Religion, and the Material Foundations of Western Civilization
September 21, 2011
Hosted by Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein
Our inaugural episode examines the enduring popularity of the Indiana Jones films and their impact in elevating archaeology’s image over 30 years. While the films exemplify tongue and cheek genre, many fans are convinced that the adventures are grounded in reality. Was Indiana Jones a real person? Was he a composite of several famous archaeologists? A central theme in the films is the quest for material clues that legitimize the Bible, historic accounts of classic western civilization (Greece, Persia, and Rome), and the epigraphy of the prehispanic New World. Can we prove the existence of the Patriarchs? Noah’s ark? What about the search for Atlantis? Is there an archaeological basis for the Battle of Armageddon? More generally, can archaeology confirm or refute ancient texts and the mystique surrounding oral accounts? We explore these questions and more with special guest Dr. Eric Cline, Associate Professor of Classics, Anthropology, and History at George Washington University.
Indiana Jones: Myth, Reality and 21st Century Archaeology
Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel
This show targets an audience interested in archaeology. It explores myths surrounding this exotic, often misunderstood field and acquaints listeners with the contemporary practice of unearthing the human past. Themes range from Dr. Schuldenrein’s own “Indiana Jones”-like adventures in the land of the Bible to his team’s archaeological forensics effort to unearth Kurdish mass graves in Iraq. That undertaking helped convict Saddam Hussein in 2006. Topical issues contribute to the evolution vs. creationism controversy based on updated fossil records and innovative DNA studies. An episode highlights the main funding source for archaeology in the U.S. (Hint: the oil and gas industry). Experts reveal the latest high-tech approaches to buried archaeological landscapes that provide clues to understanding climate change, past, present and future.
Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein
Joseph Schuldenrein is president and senior scientist of Geoarcheology Research Associates (GRA) in Yonkers, New York. He has been a Visiting Scholar at New York University since 1996. His professional expertise is in geoarchaeology, a sub-discipline that introduces earth science techniques to traditional archaeological excavation. Joe has worked extensively across North America and the Old World. He received his doctorate in 1983 at the University of Chicago. Recent research in North America has concentrated on the urban archaeology of New York City and Native American landscapes of the Atlantic Coast. Joe’s projects in South Asia have ranged from Human Origins investigations to the beginnings of civilization of the Indus Valley. During the Iraq war Dr. Schuldenrein’s team helped direct a forensic archaeological mission in support of the Saddam Hussein prosecution. His newest venture is an assessment of Cultural Heritage Sites in war-torn Afghanistan (2011). Dr. Schuldenrein publishes widely in numerous archaeological and geological journals. He is a reviewer for American Antiquity, Geoarchaeology, and Quaternary Science Reviews. He has acted as Principal Investigator or Consulting Scientist for grants awarded by the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Aegean Prehistory. Dr. Schuldenrein has been interviewed for PBS, as well as national and regional TV and radio outlets over the past 30 years.