Event: Friday Seminar: "The Past, Present, and Future of Space Archaeology"

Date & Time

February 9, 2018 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Contact Information

Matthew Swanson


Fowler A222

Event Type

Friday Seminar

Event Details

Speaker: Dr. Justin Walsh, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Chapman University

The archaeology of human activity in space has been conceptualized since the 1990’s. Early work included definition of the parameters of the field, identification of subject material and sites, development of methodologies, and integration of common terrestrial archaeology activities such as cultural resource management and heritage protection into space archaeology. More rarely, but no less significantly, there have been research projects carried out by academic archaeologists as part of efforts to push the envelope of “the possible” in archaeological practice.This lecture will begin by outlining the history of space archaeology to date and contextualizing it within developments in the field of contemporary archaeology more generally. The author will then describe how they are undertaking the first archaeological investigation of a permanent habitation site in space: the International Space Station. The ISS Archaeological Project (ISSAP; https://issarchaeology.org) is applying the latest technological tools, including machine learning and crowd sourcing techniques, to classifying data from millions of images depicting life on board the space station during the last 17 years. This information will be used to map patterns of astronaut presence and absence in various locations, and the associations between crew, objects, and spaces on ISS. The results will enable a better understanding of how a society and culture forms on a spacecraft, and improve life during long-duration missions.