An exhibition related to future archaeology by artists
MICHAEL SANDERS [England] and WALTER COTTEN [Los Angeles, 1947–2008].
MiraCosta College, Oceanside Campus, 1 Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA, USA.
4 March – 3 April 2008.
The nuclear age and its lasting effects on the landscape fascinate me. I try to picture the world as a future archaeologist might interpret it, sifting through the jumbled layers of conflict and habitation. The Thor missile launch site at Ludford Magna, 12 miles East of Lincoln, was the scene of a nuclear near accident on 7 December 1960. If a leak of liquid oxygen had caused a fire and explosion, a large area of Lincolnshire would have contaminated with radiation. Most of the concrete on the site has now been ground up to make aggregate for road building but some traces remain.
‘The Sand Bag Memorial’ is inspired by an event in 2003 when military forces occupied the ancient site of Babylon for a major camp. In the course of the occupation US Marines, civilian contractors and Polish forces damaged the archaeology at the site and at nearby Etemenanki (the ziggurat) by building fortifications using sandbags filled with archaeological remains. The site was to be designated a World Heritage Site. ‘The Sand Bag Memorial’ formed part of a series of proposals to build a sandbag memorial to ruined archaeology at Camp Pendleton, California (home base of the US Marines) as a reversal of the process that occurred in Babylon, Iraq.