Space Archaeology: Preserving our Cultural Heritage Beyond Earth’s Atmosphere
July 23, 2014
Hosted by Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein
“Space Archaeology” may sound like the stuff of science fiction – an archaeologist’s attention is usually focused beneath the earth rather than towards the stars. But the preservation of our cultural heritage in outer space has actually become a very pertinent issue in recent years. Human-made artefacts such as satellites, orbital debris, and launch complexes here on earth all document the story of our first ventures into space, and the increase of national interests in space and the development of commercial spacecraft (i.e. space tourism) present challenges in international preservation. Pioneering archaeologists such as Dr. Beth O’Leary are leading the way in preserving these objects and structures for future generations. Her work includes the evaluation of the significance and future protection of important material culture on Earth, the moon, and in orbit. Join Dr. O’Leary and our host as they discuss the preservation efforts so far and how the protection of space artefacts falls into a legal gray area – what are some of the threats to their conservation? Find out on tonight’s episode, in honour of the anniversary of the first manned spaceflight to the moon in 1969.
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.