The global nuclear industry has for decades used sites like Stonehenge as models for designs for long-term markers to be placed over nuclear waste repositories to ensure they are not violated in distant, imagined futures. In the US, the resulting proposal would produce a pre-formed archaeological site, a ruin that would qualify for listing as a World Heritage site in the future. This talk questions the way planners thought about materials and human intentions from the perspective of an archaeological sensibility on how materials endure and decay and what people in the past expected would happen when they created the structures we recognize as monuments today.
Rosemary Joyce received the PhD from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1985, based archaeological fieldwork in Caribbean Honduras. A curator and faculty member in anthropology at Harvard University from 1985 to 1994, she moved to the University of California, Berkeley in 1994, initiating new archaeological fieldwork in Honduras on the emergence of settled farming villages before 1500 BC. This began her explorations of the liveliness of geological materials, and the intentions of people in the past when they built features today seen as monuments. She is the author of ten books, the latest The Future of Nuclear Waste: What Art and Archaeology Can Tell Us About Securing the World’s Most Hazardous Material (2020, Oxford University Press).