Team Phaeton
Captain David West Reynolds at Arctic Bay, Phaeton Image by Vera Williams

David West Reynolds, Ph.D.


Archaeologist, consultant, space expert, and best-selling author of nine books, David founded Phaeton Group and serves as its director. He combines an academic background with an interest in high-quality communication and public outreach. As a consultant for science-related media, David translate complex technical science into engaging narratives for clients such as Discovery Channel producers. David has applied his archaeological training in unorthodox ways, such as locating lost filming sites as a Hollywood location scout. A popular public speaker, David enjoys personal outreach projects and offers presentations on a range of topics in adventure, science, and communications.

David West Reynolds earned his Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology at the University of Michigan, specializing in Imperial Rome and ancient Egypt. His field work has taken him to places as diverse as Anasazi cliff cities in Utah, Inca fortresses in the mountains of Peru, and Swahili ruins in the jungles of East Africa. In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Reynolds taught college archaeology and guided international tours.

The archaeology of Star Wars

In 1995 Reynolds undertook an unusual quest to re-locate the filming sites in Tunisia where the desert scenes had been shot in 1976 for the movie Star Wars. Together with a Phaeton teammate, Reynolds successfully tracked down the remote locations and found 20-year-old movie props in the Sahara. The project led to official location scouting work for Lucasfilm, and then to a full-time job at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in California, where Reynolds held a position on the marketing team behind the record-setting launch of Star Wars: Episode I. In addition to numerous popular magazine articles he penned seven Star Wars books. The last five of those titles became New York Times bestsellers, one reaching #1 on that list.

Having learned about media and popular communication from one of the best companies in the business, Reynolds returned to scientific work and non-fiction writing, founding Phaeton Group to support field science projects and bring them to the public.

A wide-ranging career

Reynolds has climbed mountains in Venezuela , Kenya, and Canada, excavated dinosaur eggshell, explored unmapped caves, discovered Ice Age fossils, and carried out archaeological research at the Vatican manuscript library. In the course of his consulting work he has sculpted a full-size dinosaur skeleton, created museum models of historic spacecraft designs, and acted as presenter for the television documentary series Omnibus for the BBC.

Phaeton Group and its diverse projects reflect David's wide-ranging interests. The organization embodies his belief in the value of multidisciplinary collaboration.

Current Projects
In October 2007 David led a Phaeton mission to the Northwest Passage. He recently completed writing assignments for National Geographic and the Canadian Explorers Club magazine on space exploration and dinosaur paleontology.
Popular Fiction Books
David's seven published hardcover titles have sold over two million copies in nine languages, and include a New York Times #1 best-selling Star Wars Visual Dictionary.
Published Articles
This is a placeholder list which includes both popular and academic articles on topics from archaeology to Star Wars
Public Presentations
With a solid reputation as an engaging and entertaining speaker, David makes presentations at venues ranging from academic societies and museums to conventions and public schools.
David has led or joined expeditions to places as diverse as the Andes and the Sahara, pursuing archaeological, paleontological work, location scouting, tour guiding, and research.
Published Illustrations and Photographs
A technical artist and field photographer, David's diagrams and illustrations, and photographs have appeared in scientific journals, books, magazines, and other publications.
Professional Sculpting and Model-Making
David's commissioned art for museums and individuals has included spacecraft models, dioramas, and life-size dinosaur skeletons.
Published Fiction
David combined archaeology and Star Wars to create a story of Luke Skywalker's youth for Lucasfilm Ltd. that was published in Archaeology's Dig magazine for kids.
Print Media Appearances
Articles and books in which David has appeared
TV Appearances


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