Nuclear Archeology


Membre de la Flight Test Historical Foundation, du Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation, du Musée National Atomique, Peter Merlin passe une grande partie de son temps à explorer le sud-ouest des États-Unis à la recherche de villes fantômes, de mines, de grottes, de ruines préhistoriques et d’art rupestre, de sites d’essais nucléaires, de silos de missiles abandonnés, de fossiles et de caractéristiques naturelles intéressantes. Merlin donne occasionnellement des conférences sur l’histoire de l’aérospatiale, l’archéologie préhistorique et l’histoire des essais nucléaires.

Merlin was born in Hollywood, California. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Studies from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Merlin is a member of the Flight Test Historical Foundation, Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation, National Atomic Museum Foundation, Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame, and is an Associate Member of Roadrunners Internationale. He spends much of his time exploring the southwestern United States in search of ghost towns, mines, caves, prehistoric ruins and rock art, nuclear test sites, abandoned missile silos, fossils, and interesting natural features. He has also journeyed to the mountains of Baja California, Mexico, and the Tassili N’Ajjer plateau region of the central Sahara Desert in Algeria to photograph prehistoric cave paintings. Merlin occasionally lectures on aerospace history and prehistoric archeology.


In From the Archives of Peter Merlin, Aviation Archaeologist, multidisciplinary artist Trevor Paglen (born 1974) collaborates with Peter Merlin, a former NASA archivist, on this new artist’s book featuring a photographic inventory of objects from the aerospace historian’s archive of research culled from military bases such as Area 51.

Featuring images of challenge coins, patches and commemorative mugs from within these bases, as well as debris recovered from the surrounding crash sites, the book presents both a social and technological investigation into the US government’s secret aviation history from the atomic age to today’s drone wreckage.

The symbols and texts featured on these objects that celebrate covert missions range in character from goofy to sinister, though their actual meaning may never be fully explained to the public. In addition to photographic images, the book includes an essay by Paglen as well as in-depth captions of the archive’s inventory, offering context for this history and addressing the present-day ramifications of these military advancements across the realms of communication, surveillance and warfare.

Trevor Paglen: From the Archives of Peter Merlin, Aviation Archaeologist Paperback – May 21, 2019