How We Got Here: the Prime Movers in Cultural Evolution

January 29, 2014
Hosted by Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein

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Episode Description

As we come up on President Obama’s State of the Union Address and evaluate where we stand as a nation, it’s fascinating to ponder how human society has evolved. Twenty thousand years ago everyone was living in small, mobile bands – today, everyone is living within a large, bureaucratic, market-oriented state. How did that happen? There have historically been two answers. One (going back to Darwin and Malthus) is that population growth forces cultural innovation and change. The other (going back to Marx and Morgan) is that technological innovations have allowed cultural change (and population growth) to take place. Both are simplistic, and there is supporting and refuting evidence for both. Join our guest Dr. Peter Neal Peregrine as he discusses cultural evolution and the importance of understanding it, explores its relationship with population and technology, and reconsiders these two factors as prime movers in the evolutionary process.

Indiana Jones: Myth, Reality and 21st Century Archaeology

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.

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Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein

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.

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