From Hobby to Vocation: New Deal Archaeology

February 26, 2014
Hosted by Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein

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Episode Description

Recently, archaeologists have felt pressured to prove that their discipline is not just a purely academic pursuit, but rather a practically relevant and useful profession. As it happens, during the Depression Era archaeology did prove to be just that. New Deal work relief programs were designed to spend more funds on labor than equipment, to provide minimal competition with businesses in a normal economy, and, for the most part, to invest in American culture. All of these criteria made archaeology a perfect candidate for inclusion in work relief programs, and the field would gradually transform from a hobby into a profession. During this time, archaeology was done on a scale unprecedented in the US and rivaled some of the larger excavations in the Old World, such as those in Egypt, the Near East or Europe. Join our host and special guest Dr. Bernard Means and find out how New Deal archaeology set changes in motion that affected the way we do archaeology in the US – from the development of standardized procedures to the founding of the SAA – as well as the research potential for the collections obtained through work relief investigations.

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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