A Life In Ruins-logo

A Life In Ruins

Science Podcasts

Carlton Gover, Connor Johnen and David Howe are three friends that went to graduate school together and decided to start a podcast. Join them once a month for witty conversation, amazing guests, and a bit of profanity - all in the name of science. Join them in their lives in ruins.

Carlton Gover, Connor Johnen and David Howe are three friends that went to graduate school together and decided to start a podcast. Join them once a month for witty conversation, amazing guests, and a bit of profanity - all in the name of science. Join them in their lives in ruins.


United States


Carlton Gover, Connor Johnen and David Howe are three friends that went to graduate school together and decided to start a podcast. Join them once a month for witty conversation, amazing guests, and a bit of profanity - all in the name of science. Join them in their lives in ruins.








The Life of Bryon: An Interview with Dr. Bryon Schroeder and Connor Johnen - Ep 78

In this episode of A Life in Ruins, Connor does a solo interview with Dr. Bryon Schroeder. Dr. Schroeder was originally on Episode 15, where he discussed his career in archaeology and regaled us with tales about Texas archaeology that were sometimes, quite disturbing. Connor wanted to continue to talk with him about his research because it is very interesting. We talk about some of the work in caves he has been doing, his work with sloths, and catch up about the mummy we discussed in the...


The Gault in Our Stars: A Conversation with Dr. Robert Lassen - Ep 77

In this episode, we are chatting with Dr. Robert Lassen, a Principal Investigator for AmaTerra Environmental. Robert received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee where he specialized in lithic technology and studied Clovis and Folsom archaeological cultures. He has worked at a multitude of sites throughout the Republic of Texas, including Gault. He's also worked at the Topper site in South Carolina. Robert is an expert flintknapper and was also David’s Human origins TA at the...


Something A-foot in White Sands National Monument with Dr. Shane Miller and Dr. Jesse Tune - Ep 76

Something's afoot. There is, yet again, another controversial preclovis find. This time, away from the West Coast and in New Mexico. The controversy surrounds human footprints found in White Sands National Park that are dated between 23 and 21 kya. To discuss these possible pre-Clovis footprints, we invited Dr. Jesse Tune and Dr. Shane Miller on the show to contextualize the data. We begin with an open discussion about the recent published report and try to understand what the researches...


Dr. Devin's Dissertation - Ep 75

Dr. Devin Pettigrew comes back on the show to talk about his doctoral dissertation on atlatl and bow weapon system ballistics. Devin first appeared on the show as a guest host back in episode 18.2 and then again as a guest for episode 19. You may also recognize him if you've checked out our YouTube channel. We start off by talking about the dissertation process, what Devin's research question was, the methods behind his experiments, and data collection. We have an interesting conversation...


Tips, Tricks, and Dance Moves for Anthropology Undergrad and Grad Programs - Ep 74

In this episode of A Life in Ruins, we provide information about undergraduate and graduate school. We start off joking about our favorite episodes (all of them are our favorite) and then dive into things to consider when applying to undergraduate and graduate programs. We talk about our differing experiences in undergrad and the positives and negatives of each of our experiences. Importantly, we dive into how to research graduate programs, and factors surrounding how to choose a school are...


Ancient Civ: Central America with Dr. David S. Anderson - Ep 73

On this episode of A Life In Ruins Podcast, we are joined by an early A Life in Ruins guest, Dr. David S. Anderson, to talk about the Origins of early states in Mesoamerica. Dr. Anderson first appeared on our show in episode 11 to talk about pseudoscience in archaeology, and we are excited to have him back on the show to discuss with us the real perpetrators of Central American megalithic structures and ceremonial centers. Dr. Anderson enlightens us about theories surrounding the emergence...


Arrrgh Ruined Lives with Maddy McAllister and Jamie Goodall - Ep 72

In this episode of we have the pleasure of hosting the most fan-requested crossover: The Shipwreck Mermaid and the Pirate Historian. Dr. Maddy McAllister, aka the Shipwreck Mermaid, is a Maritime archaeology Curator based out of Australia. Dr. Jamie Goodall is a staff historian with the US government. They are both popular social media personalities on Twitter and Instagram. We discuss their respective careers and how they use primary source data and archaeological reports. We discuss Black...


Of Mammoths and Hand Sprays with Dr. Madeline Mackie - Ep 71

On this episode of ALiRP, we interview our friend and colleague, Dr. Madeline Mackie. Dr. Mackie just began her position as an assistant professor at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Dr. Mackie studies Paleoindian lifeways and big game hunting, as well as ochre hand sprays. We met Dr. Mackie at the University of Wyoming, where she dealt with our numerous shenanigans. We start off by talking about her experiences growing up in Southern California and then delve into her MA research on...


Ancient Civ - Indus Valley with Stefan Milo - Ep 70

On this episode of A Life in Ruins, we continue our series on ancient civilization and discuss Indus Valley Civilizations and their precursors. We have Stefan Milo join us to discuss this region. Stefan Milo is a popular Youtuber who has appeared on episodes 20 and 43. He made a video on an Indus Valley Civilization where he discusses the interesting lack of social hierarchy found in this civilization (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxP1zornb-w). We struggle with geography, time periods,...


Ancient Civ: South America - Ep 69

We celebrate our 69th episode by investigating the rise of early state civilizations in South America. The four early states that we cover are Norte Chico, Chavin, Nazca, and of course, Moche. This episode is a wild ride of pyramids, ceremonial complexes, severed heads, and Moche sex pots. Sprinkled throughout the episode are references to Star Wars, Civilization, SAA conferences, South Park, Rick and Morty, and a shoutout to The Dirt Podcast. Literature recommendations: 1) Ancient...


Ancient Civ: Origins - Ep 68

Buckle up for an episode on the theory of the rise of early states and ancient civilizations. Episode 68 sets the stage for a series investigating early civilizations across the globe. We break down Elman Service and Lewis Henry Morgan's theories on cultural complexity and go through a couple of definitions for "civilization". Think that's going to be boring? Well just wait, we even talk about primary vs secondary civilizations and the four classic theories on how early complex civilizations...


Days of AR-CHIVES with Kelly Brown - Ep 67

In this episode of the A Life in Ruins Podcast, we interview Kelly Brown, the Archives Lab Manager at the Augusta Veterans Curation Program. Her main job component is managing archives, her secondary responsibility is being David's workplace babysitter. She recently graduated with a Master's Degree in Library and Information science (MLIS) and has accepted a position at the Savannah River Site Museum in Aiken, South Carolina. We discuss Kelly’s background in archaeology from the University...


Fantastic Domesticates and Where to Find Them - New World - Ep 66

We wrap up our animal domestication series with a discussion about animals that were domesticated in North and South America. We cover llamas, guinea pigs (so startled), turkey's and a few other domesticates that the three hosts didn't know about. Of course, there are plenty of South Park and Disney Movie references throughout the episode. Literature Recommendations Animal Domestication - Table of Dates and Places: How did we ever manage to domesticate so many animals? from thoughtco.com...


Fantastic Domesticates and Where to Find them - Old World - Ep 65

In this episode of A Life in Ruins podcast, The hosts have another off the rails discussion about domesticates. This time however, talking llamas, guinea pigs, camels, horses, goats, and dogs. You might notice that not all of them are Old World Domesticates. Honestly, you’ll just have to listen to the episode understand. It is actually a very thoughtful and funny conversation about the idiosyncrasies of domestication, animal behavior, and how humans interact with animals. National suicide...


Folsom Game Drive Blues with Kelton Meyer - Ep 64

In this episode, we delve back into the Paleoindian period. We interview Kelton Meyer, a graduate student in anthropology at Colorado State University about his research on game drives in the Rocky Mountains and the techniques he utilizes to analyze spatial relationships. The three hosts also chat with Kelton about his recent publications and research awards. Literature Recommendations David Meltzer: Folsom: New Archaeological Investigations of a Classic Paleoindian Bison Kill Edwin Wilmsen...


Fantastic Domesticates and Where to Find Them - Dogs - Ep 63

For this episode of Just the Boyz, we kick off our series on animal domesticates, starting with the oldest known domesticated animal: the dog. We are fortunate to have David as a one of the hosts as he is one of the leading public scholars when it comes to the relationship between dogs and humans throughout human history. We chat about the earliest evidence for dog domestication, the leading theories behind Howe and why dogs were domesticated, and delve into a discussion about the Siberian...


Back in Black: Primate Microbiomes with Carson Black - Ep 62

In this episode, we are pleased to have Carson Black return to the show. Carson joined us way back on Episode 17 to talk about Primatology and the beginnings of her Master’s thesis research. We are excited to announce that Carson recently graduated with her Master’s degree and are happy to have her back on to talk about her thesis research. We discuss her finishing her degree amid a pandemic, missing out on fieldwork and passing COVID-19 to primates. We then do a deep dive into her thesis...


Just the Boyz But It’s Revolutionary Part II (Do not operate heavy machinery or drive while listening to this episode) - Ep 61

In this episode, we continue talking about the Revolutionary War, aka the War for American Freedom, aka ‘Merica War’. We hope this one is more factual and just as hilarious as Episode 57. We recount the events following the Crossing of the Delaware River, highlight Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga, the winter at Valley Forge, the alliance between France and the US, and how this alliance changed the outcome of the war, with some archaeological case studies sprinkled throughout the narrative....


University of Sheffield Shutdown of the Archaeology Department - Ep 60

In this special episode, we discuss the potential closing of the Archaeology Department at Sheffield University with Dr. Umberto Albarella and Helen Thompson. Dr. Albarella is faculty in the Archaeology Department and Helen is a Ph.D. student in the program. They fill us in on what's going at the University of Sheffield, the events leading up to this current controversy, and what we can do to help. Please sign the petition in the description below. Let's do what we can to support our...


Ethnomusicology and Archaeomusicology with Dr. Mason Brown - Ep 59

In this episode, we chat with Dr. Mason Brown, a guest assistant professor for Kathmandu University Department of Music and Affiliate Scholar for the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Asian Studies. We delve into his early interests in ethnomusicology / Tibetan culture and get into the details of what ethnomusicology is. Dr. Brown talks about music theory, pentatonic scales, and all the instruments he plays. We also talk about some evidence for the earliest musical instruments in...