Cultural Entanglements: Early Globalization in the Americas
July 30, 2014
Hosted by Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein
When Spain, the 16th century European superpower, spread into the Americas it created a plethora of “situations of contact," transforming all groups involved. Foreign items are often appropriated as luxury goods in sociopolitical struggles for power, and European colonialists realized they could use trade goods to manipulate local politics and loaded their ships with such items. Indigenous peoples often transformed desired trade goods into inalienable objects, which played critical roles in local political systems. The competition of local elites for these goods and their subsequent use as power objects transformed political systems and, in some cases, encouraged the formation of internal factions. Dr. Timothy Pugh and his team of researchers from universities in the United States and Guatemala is exploring the shifting role of European objects in the Itza Maya socio-political system during the Contact period (A.D. 1525-1697). They believe that European “trade good politics” with the Maya resulted in increased internal competition as well as the reconfiguration of networks of power, and are testing this hypothesis through archaeological research at Nixtun-Ch’ich’ and Muralla de Leon in Petén, Guatemala. Learn more about their work in tonight's episode!
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.