Special Encore Presentation: Miller Time in Ancient Mesopotamia: The origins of beer brewing in the Cradle of Civilization

March 12, 2014
Hosted by Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein

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Episode Description

Mesopotamia, known as the cradle of civilization, has long been the focus of archaeologists studying the origins of domestication and farming. The latest in food based studies in this area (contemporary southern Iraq), centers on a unique project that merges some of the earliest Bronze Age texts with advanced geochemical techniques and residue studies to examine the origins of beer brewing. The project was initiated by several graduate students at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, together with the owner of the Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland. While this study is sure to capture the attention of the beer drinking public, it also has ramifications bearing on patterned changes in food and drink production, consumption, and distribution through time. Our special guest is PhD student Tate Paulette, one of the chief architects of this study who offers a unique perspective on the evolution of a key recreational libation that is much older than many of us ever imagined.

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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