Montpellier, France, 2000
Sandia National Laboratories charged a panel of outside experts with the task to design a 10,000-year marking system for the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) site, and estimate the efficacy of the system against various types of intrusion. The goal of the marking system is to deter inadvertent human interference with the site. The panel of experts was divided into two teams. This is the report of the A Team; a multidisciplinary group with an anthropologist (who is at home with different, but contemporary, cultures), an astronomer (who searches for extra-terrestrial intelligence), an archaeologist (who is at home with cultures that differ in both time and space from our own), an environmental designer (who studies how people perceive and react to a landscape and the buildings within them), a linguist (who studies how languages change with time), and a materials scientist (who knows the options available to us for implementing our marking system concepts). The report is a team effort. There is much consensus on the design criteria and necessary components of the marking system. Understandably, there is some diversity of opinion on some matters, and this is evident in the text.