Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rocket parties

Today I am writing a lecture on how open pit mines work (from a heritage management perspective). Tragically, I find this stuff really interesting - I remember, while excavating once on a Hunter Valley coal mine, one of the drillers got a bit enthusiastic about having a number of young female people around and asked us to visit his rig, quite illegal of course. I was far more interested in watching the drill bit than being chatted up, I fear!

However, there is only so much discussion of stripping ratios and NVPs that a person can take in one go, so I am distracting myself with more rocket cakes. Rocket (and satellite) cakes have become a much larger theme on this blog than I imagined was possible, but when confronted with stunning creativity, there is nothing to do but acknowledge it. So here is the rocket cake that the very creative Karen Cheng made for her son's third birthday party, and some lovely toilet-roll rockets.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Fearsome Heritage shortlisted for British Archaeological Award

Beth O'Leary and I have an article in this about space heritage.

Left Coast Press is pleased to announce that that A Fearsome Heritage (in the WAC One World Archaeology series) has been shortlisted for the British Book Awards Best Scholarly Archaeological Book! The British Archaeological Awards are a showcase for the best in British archaeology and a central event in the archaeological calendar. Established in 1976, they have grown to encompass fourteen Awards, covering every aspect of British archaeology.

About this innovative book….

A Fearsome Heritage: Diverse Legacies of the Cold War

John Schofield and Wayne Cocroft, eds
Published March 2007, 336 pages

"A Fearsome Heritage draws on artistic responses to the Cold War, defining them as being archaeology in a broad sense. This approach is refreshing, and the individual contributions are of high quality…the boldness of the book’s approach to modern remains, as well as its willingness to discuss topics rarely looked at by archaeologists, makes reading the volume a stimulating experience. The reader gets a good picture of the diversity of interest in heritage, as well as some of the approaches adopted by heritage managers, artists and political forces. The willingness to experiment, shown by the incorporation of sound and visual arts, is both admirable and effective in terms of underlining the message that not all the tools to understand Cold War heritage can be supplied by archaeology. "
- Mads Dahl Gjefsen, Archaeological Review from Cambridge

"As a study of the "contemporary past," the volume takes a multidisciplinary perspective that joins archaeology with anthropology, art, sociology, and politics to study/critique Cold War heritage. Importantly, the work of contemporary artists in film, video, and music loom large in this lavishly illustrated volume (which includes color!) because it not only constitutes archives, documents, and artifacts, but also serves to engage with the Cold War symbolically and interpret it for us."
- B. Osborne, CHOICE Magazine

From massive nuclear test sites to the more subtle material realities of everyday life, the influence of the Cold War on modern culture has been profound and global. Fearsome Legacies unites innovative work on the interpretation and management of Cold War heritage from fields including archaeology, history, art and architecture, and cultural studies. Contributors understand material culture in its broadest sense, examining objects in outer space, domestic space, landscapes, and artistic spaces. They tackle interpretive challenges and controversies, including in museum exhibits, heritage sites, archaeological sites, and other historic and public venues. With over 150 color photos and illustrations, including a photographic essay, readers can feel the profound visual impact of this material culture.

To order, visit our website at:
ISBN: 978-1-59874-258-9 (c)

$79.00 U.S./Canadian, £42.99 (Cloth)
For more information, contact Caryn Berg at

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Last Word - Dead in Space

In this week's edition of New Scientist, I discuss (very briefly) what might happen if someone died on a long haul space flight.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My new career: planetary archaeologist

Just back from the Australian Space Science Conference in Canberra. After a fabulous talk by Graziella Caprarelli (UTS) about the state of planetary sciences in Australia, I have decided that I will no longer be a space archaeologist but a planetary archaeologist. This is nicely in keeping with my current research on unifying terrestrial, maritime and celestial archaeology. Planetary science is about the solar system, and is different from earth science and astronomy. So it works on all levels. (I'm imagining a T-shirt with a picture of an astronaut holding a trowel).