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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The exploration of space is a Cold War phenomenon and is recent material culture which archaeologists do not routinely consider. Extending the archaeological gaze into space creates a new perspective of Earth: its cultural system which reaches into the solar system. This chapter provides a definition and discussion of space archaeology. The assemblage continues to grow especially in Earth’s orbit and on celestial bodies (e.g. Moon). All space objects exist within the cultural landscape of Earth’s multiple facilities such as launch sites, research facilities, etc. The landscape is designed, associative, and organically evolving. It is an extremely technological collection that includes in situ scientific experiments and satellites. Proveniences are complex. Artefacts can exist in relatively predictable orbits. Much of this archaeological record benefits from the benign effects of the space environment and its remoteness, but lie within a contested grey legal area in terms of its international preservation.

Keywords: space archaeology, Cold War, cultural landscape, preservation, orbit, satellite, Moon

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