Archaeology and material culture: Interpreting the archaeological record

The archaeology of shamanism

Neil Price, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Uppsala, St Eriks Torg 5, SE-753 10 Uppsala. SWEDEN. Tel: +46 (0)18 471 2101. Fax: +46 (0)18 471 7550. Email: neil.price@arkeologi.uu.se
Session abstract (English):

From rock art to the Vikings, the study of shamanism in past societies plays a major role in a vast range of archaeological fields. The subject has never been so widespread as a focus of research than at present, and at the same time there are few archaeological issues which are so often misrepresented.
    This session aims to present the archaeology of shamanism in all its diversity, against the background of the long-term contribution that it has made to the investigation of the past; this will stand in firm opposition to the monolithic characterisations which have been put forward by some recent critics. We will be presenting short introductions to the various interpretations of shamanism, together with research histories of its study in specific (pre)historic contexts; we will also be addressing broad-based topics such as entoptic phenomena and the ritual use of hallucinogens. This will be supplemented by a number of more detailed case studies. The public perception of ancient shamanism will also be discussed, and the problems or challenges that this can present for archaeologists.
    It is important to stress that the study of shamanism also involves the archaeology of living traditions, as for many indigenous peoples all over the world it still plays a central role in an active religion; even for those who no longer practice shamanism, respect for sacred places formerly associated with it is often crucial to the maintenance of cultural identity in the present. We therefore particularly welcome papers from such groups and their archaeologists, and from heritage managers who have had to adjust to their needs; the scope of the session is global and interdisciplinary, and contributions are naturally invited from Europe and beyond. We hope to provide thought-provoking debate both for those who already work in this area and for those who are intrigued by a field of study which attempts to get to the heart of an archaeology of mind.

Metal mining and early metallurgy in Europe

Session organizer:
Dr Maria van Schoor, Universidade Portucalense, Avenida Rodrigues de Freitas 339, 4000 Porto, PORTUGAL. Tel: +351 25369635; Fax: +351 2575127. Email: MvanSchoor@mail.telepac.pt
Session abstract (English):

One of the challenges in studying metallurgy is the dual nature of the subject. This is a complex field of research where different specialists from the natural and social sciences join forces. Metallurgy presents a variety of aspects that includes the study of the geological conditions in a given area, its mining exploitation and the analysis of the composition of metal ores and objects. Other themes to be considered are the sociological and ethnographic interpretation of the finds. The technical side of metalwork and the experimental reproduction of the different phases of metallurgy are other aspects to be considered. It is the aim of this session to reflect on ancient mining and metallurgical development and how the discussion of various approaches can contribute to a better archaeological understanding.

Session abstract (Portugese):

Quando abordamos o estudo da metalurgia, temos de ter em conta a dupla natureza do tema. Trata-se de uma área complexa de investigação, onde os especialistas da área das ciências e das humanidades se juntam. A metalurgia apresenta uma variedade de aspectos que inclui o estudo da geologia de uma dada região, a exploração mineira e a análise da composição dos depósitos metálicos e dos objectos. Outros temas a ter em consideração são a interpretação dos aspectos sociológicos e etnográficos dos vestigios arqueológicos, os aspectos técnicos da metalurgia e a reproducção experimental das diversas fases da metalurgia. Esta sessão pretende estimular uma reflecção sobre a mineração antiga e o desenvolvimento da metalurgia nos seus diversos aspectos e como as diferentes abordagens podem contribuir para uma melhor interpretação arqueológica.

Metrology of classical and medieval periods

Session organizer:
Dr Alla V Bujskikh, Institute of Archaeology, National Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Av. Heros of Stalingrad 12, 254655, Kiev-210. UKRAINE.  Email: ira@iarh.kiev.uai

Session abstract (English):

This session will consider the metrology of weights, length measures, the measurement of volumes and coin metrology relating to the classical and medieval periods in Europe.

The Caucasus Region: Cross-roads between Europe and Asia

Session organizer:
Irena Arzhantseva, Department of Archaeology, History Faculty, Moscow State University, 119899, Moscow. Vorobjovy Gory, Russia. Tel: +007 (095) 2502989. Fax: +007 (095) 264 7247
Session abstract (English):

Since ancient times the Caucasus has been a unique junction for all sorts of geo-political problems. It is, and always has been, a zone for active contact between different ethnic groups, an arena where super-power and super-ethos interests collide in the struggle for spheres of influence. The Caucasus also has a special role as a geographical region: its geological structure, the unique combination of different landscape zones in one relatively small micro-region, have influenced the formation of ethnoses and cultures. It is the Caucsus that gives the richest material for discussing the overall problems of palaeo-landscape reconstruction and the interaction of ancient cultures and their environment. This is why we also propose for discussion the topic of the rise and development of proto-city cultures and societies in the Caucasus.
    Because of its geographical position the Cuacasusalso has the major trading routes passing through it in antiquity and in the middle ages, both from east to west, and from north to south. We propose this topic too as an important one for our section.
    The Caucasus is also of interest as a bridge for ethnic migrations, which explains the intensity of mutual influence of the cultures of the Caucasus and those of their neighbours. One of the basic directions which our section will take is to discuss the problems connected with the interaction of synchronous cultures of Europe and Asia, linked politically, economically or otherwise with the Caucasus.
    Because the Caucasus region has been so markedly poly-ethnic throughout recorded history, we are faced with a problem for many specialists, not just archaeologists and Caucasologists: how archaeological data correspond to ethnoses occupying a given territory? How possible is it to use archaeological material to determine ethnic and pre-ethnic formations? What indicators are there in archaeological material that can be used for this purpose?
    The section's work, we propose, will also involve discussing the formation and peculiarities of burial rites among Caucasian tribes, the coexistence of pagan cults and of two world religions - Christianity and Islam, which often opposed each other in the Caucasus.
    Unfortunately we shall also be faced with discussing the topic of the modern condition and preservation of archaeological monuments due to the complex conditions in the region.

Trade and clay lamps in the Graeco-Roman world

Session organizer:
Dennis Zhuravlev, Department of Archaeology, State Historical Museum, 1-2 Red Square, 103012, Moscow, RUSSIA. Tel:+095 9243905 Fax: +7095 2922269 Email:zhurav@ipu.rssi.ru
Session abstract (English):

Lamps, that were an important component of the Greek and Roman life, have been studied for more than a century. Despite a huge number of books, many important problems are still not solved and need some serious studies.
    Together with traditional “lamps” questions (dating, iconography etc) we are planning to see the  trade relation from North Africa to Britain and from Black sea shores to Spain.
    One of the most important question will be studies of materials from the Northern Pontic area, which are unknown till nowadays.
    The influence of the production of Italian workshops on the provincial ones.
    Problems of the local workshops and distribution of their production.
    It should be interesting to see  a correlation between imported and local lamps in the different regions.
    Roman lamps as an witness of the provincial Roman culture in the Barbarian world.
    How were lamps represented on other different ancient artefacts - vases, painting, pottery etc?
    What is a difference between the using of lamps in the everyday life and burial  rite of the
    Greco-Roman world and the one of Barbarian tribes?
    Lighting in the different parts of the ancient world.  Can we recognize regional or cultural identities behind the distribution of various forms of lighting equipment?
    Archaeometry and clay analyses for lamps: results and importance.

Warriors in the archaeological record
Session organizer:
Mark Pearce, Department of Archaeology, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham. NG7 2RD. UNITED KINGDOM. Tel: +44(0)115 9514839 Fax: +44(0)115 9514812 Email: mark.pearce@nottingham.ac.uk
Session abstract (English):
This session aims to continue the debate begun at EAA3 in Ravenna on "Warfare and warriors in the ancient world", where the archaeological visibility of warfare and conquest and their possible causal role in cultural and historical change was discussed.
    The session will examine the significance of the "warrior horizons" that appear in the European archaeological record in various periods and places, and the artefactual markers, (swords, axes, arrowheads etc.) that have been used to identify them. papers will be welcome that examine the basis for the identification of warriors, whether the weapon horizons related to posturing and display or to actual conflict, gender issues, and cross-cultural parallels.

Medieval rural settlement and land-use

Session organizer:
Nikolaj Makarov, Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Dm Ulianova 19, Moscow 117036. RUSSIA.  Email: nima@nmakarov.msk.ru
Session abstract (English):

In the recent decades studies on rural settlement and cultural landscape formed one of the most powerful research directions in medieval archaeology, developing in competition and dialogue with  urban studies. In different European countries  archaeological investigations of rural sites, settlement  and land-use initially  were strongly connected with the national schools of agrarian history and human geography  and influenced by research traditions of these disciplines. However, current experience of rural archaeology in different parts  of Europe proves that this research direction has worked out its own concepts, methods  and technologies which have  much in common  and ought to be discussed in general European context.
      Rural settlement  in Medieval Europe displays a great variety of patterns, dependant on the natural environment, on the regional traditions  and skills of agrarian production, on the social  structures and power organization  in the local communes  and on various others purposes. Are there any common trends in medieval rural development  and common features in settlement orgainzation which stand behind  this  diversity?  The session would  illuminate this problem after discussion of  a number of  impressive case studies on medieval landscape from different edges of Europe.

Dr John Chapman, Department of Archaeology, University of Durham, South Road, Durham. DH1 3LE. UNITED KINGDOM. Fax: +(0)191 3743619. Email: j.c.chapman@durham.ac.uk
Session abstract (English):

Cross-cultural research, triggered by my original studies in Balkan Neolithic and Copper Age material, has led me to identify a major social practice in the past - namely the deliberate breaking of objects prior to the end of their natural use-lives, and in many, although not all, cases the use of the same fragments from a broken object in the creation or maintenance of social relations. This social practice is most evident in the context of structured depositions such as graves, where fragments of vessels can be deposited as grave goods alongside whole pots and other fired clay objects. But there is also a host of other non-mortuary contexts in which parts of objects are deposited. These objects are often quite hard to break (eg. Minoan stone vases) or hard to break in the way in which they have been broken (eg. longitudinal breakage of figurines) or can be broken across significant parts of the object (eg. across a sign incised into the surface of a pot). It is also very common that the fragments which are broken can be easily identified as - and stand for - the complete vessel (eg. the Adriatic salt pots or "rhyta").
    The social practice of fragmentation can be explained in many and various ways, for which there is good evidence in Classical and later times. But the rationale behind prehistoric practices of fragmentation may be at least partly connected with the anthropological notion of enchainment - the extension of an individual's selfhood to others through exchange of inalienable objects which themselves carry part of that person's selfhood.
    This session aims to discuss the practice of fragmentation in as many different cultural and social contexts as possible. Contributions are welcome from: Theoretical discussions of enchainment and its implications for material culture; Discussions of general explanations of the social meaning of fragmentation; Bodies of material subject to fragmentation, with appropriate contextual explanations; Methodologies for identification of deliberately broken objects; Quantitative studies on fragmented material culture.

Prehistoric and later field systems in Atlantic Europe

Session organizer:
Toby Driver, RCAHMW, Crown Buildings, Plas Crug, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1NJ, UK Tel:  01970 621207 Email: toby.driver@rcahmw.org.uk
Session abstract:

This session is concerned with reviewing current evidence for the survival of field systems in Atlantic Europe and its peripheries. It will examine the form, age and nature of the field systems but also look at some of the methods currently in use for discovering, surveying and studying these often complex archaeological landscapes. The survival of preserved prehistoric and later field systems, in upland areas or on unimproved land, is perhaps more widespread than is generally appreciated. Field systems can also be traced in lower-lying or improved landscapes where long-established boundaries form integral parts of the modern field pattern. These systems represent the essential underlying structure of the settled landscape and, where extant, provide a valuable context for studies of farms, defended enclosures, funerary and ritual monuments and a range of other site types, so often isolated from their ‘original’ landscapes.
    The history of enquiry has been varied; Aerial photography and air photo mapping have made considerable advances to our knowledge throughout the twentieth century, often recording sites and landscapes which may no longer be extant today. At the same time, detailed research, coupled with survey and excavation on the ground, provides for a more thorough understanding. Yet while extensive and at times complex field systems are known from many parts of Britain and Europe, a handful of well known examples continue to dominate public – and archaeological – consciousness. By their methods of record, whether through aerial photography, project-based survey or longer-term programmes of research and excavation, details of many lesser-known yet high-quality archaeological landscapes may never reach beyond the most specialised publications or may remain unpublished. The presentation of results from programmes of research and survey into new, or longer standing, discoveries should stimulate discussion and raise awareness about the survival of relict field patterns and archaeological landscapes in Atlantic Europe today.

Knowing Novgorod: A case study in archaeological collaboration
Session organizers:
Mark Brisbane, School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset. BH12 5BB. UNITED KINGDOM. Tel: +(0)1202 595180. Fax: +(0)1202 595525. Email: mbrisban@bournemouth.ac.uk and Eugenij Nosov, Institute for the History of Material Culture, Dvortsovaya nab, 18, St. Petersburg 191186, RUSSIA. Fax: +(007) 812 311 6271  Email: Eugenij@EN3518.spb.edu
Session abstract (English):

Novgorod is one of the most intensively and continuously studied urban sites in northern Europe.  Systematic excavations began in 1932 and have continued almost every year since then.  The excellent preservation of organic and inorganic material, as well as the structural remains of streets, properties and buildings, has created the possibility to study entire quarters of the town.  In addition, excavations have recovered many examples of birch bark letters - unique written documents of the medieval period - which now number over 900 separate inscriptions.  Because of this the site has received attention from scholars with a wide range of specialisms from differing fields including medieval archaeology, history, architecture, botany, zoology and linguistics.
    This session presents some of the recent results obtained from international, multidisciplinary collaboration into the origins and development of the great medieval town of Novgorod and its hinterland.  With the support of INTAS, a number of projects have been initiated which use the Novgorod area as a test bed for wider issues concerning urban origins, town-hinterland relationships, environmental analyses, trade connections, accurate chronologies, innovative artefact studies, and the development of language.
    It is intended that this session will be of interest to both medievalists and non-medievalists, with the aim of encouraging greater debate on priorities for pan-European, multidisciplinary studies into archaeological and historical topics.

The archaeology of drinking: The socio-political context of the alcoholic drink and its use

Session organizers:
Andris Sne, Archaeology Centre, State Inspectorate for Heritage Protection, Klostera iela 5/7, Riga LV-1050, LATVIA. Tel: +371-7326605; Fax: +371-7228808 Email: andrissne@hotmail.com and Armands Vijups, Chair of Archaeology and Ancillary Historical Disciplines, Faculty of History and Philosophy, University of Latvia, Brivibas boulev. 32, Riga LV-1586, LATVIA. Tel: +371-7280874. Fax: +371-7820113. Email: vijups@hotmail.com
Session abstract (English):

The wide, sometimes too common, use of the alcoholic drinks has to been considered as one of the greatest problems as well as characteristic feature of our century. But at the same time the use of alcoholic drinks (like, for example, champagne) is very integral part of every formal event like official receptions as well as widespread celebrations like Christmas and New Years Eve. Drinking very often is also the regular follower in the rituals, for example, weddings and funeral rites. This use contains some symbolic meaning varying at the different contexts and depending from local traditions in different areas and social strata.
    This session would be devoted to the exploration of the ritualised use of alcoholic drinks including wine and beer and their forerunners during prehistoric and medieval times in Europe on the basis of archaeological material. The main focus here probably could not be what was used and how it was produced (although the questions of identification of alcoholic drinks' use in archaeological remains and their technology also are welcome). The main focus however could be paid to the social and political as well as ideological context of drinking so why, how and by whom the alcohol was used. There follows only some questions we would like to discuss in our session. Could we find indications of such or other social context of drinking in the archaeological records? What was the role of drinking in the relationships among people? Did it organise them in some ways? What aims (political, ideological, religious, etc.) did the use of alcoholic drinks has in past societies?

Beyond stone and bone - Recent research in European Palaeolithic archaeology
Professor Clive Gamble and Martin Porr, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton; and Mark White, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge.
Contact: Professor Clive Gamble, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton,  Southampton. SO9 5HN. UNITED KINGDOM. Tel: +44(0)1703 592247.  Email: csg@soton.ac.uk
Session abstract (English):

In this session we want to present and discuss some of the latest developments in European Palaeolithic research.  Contributions will come from different parts of Europe and will focus both on new archaeological evidence and recent applications of interpretative frameworks. Additionally, papers will address ethnoarchaeological, anthropological and archaeological aspects of the subject.  Palaeolithic archaeology is traditionally dominated by two different strands of enquiry. On the one hand we find largely typological and technological approaches towards Palaeolithic remains. This kind of enquiry is mostly found in Central Europe and France. On the other hand, in Anglo-American countries Palaeolithic archaeology is widely dominated by ecological/economical explanatory frameworks.  In both cases, there is a general danger that Palaeolithic societies are impersonalized and a largely mechanical version of the past is produced.
    In contrast, in this session we want to discuss ways to move beyond these conceptions. One aim will be the discussion of a more diverse version of Europe’s Palaeolithic past that sees both people and artefacts as active in the creation of society and the involvement with the environment. Another question that needs to be addressed is how Palaeolithic artefacts were created and produced in social relations. These ideas will have different consequences for our understanding of Palaeolithic landscape use, the structuration of sites and the spatio-temporal structure of operational chaines. With this session, therefore, we hope to provide a forum for the development of more diverse and sophisticated ways to understand material as well as practical and ideological aspects of Palaeolithic societies in Europe.

Session abstract (German):

Jenseits von Steinen und Knochen - Jüngste Forschungen über das Paläolithikum Europas In dieser Sektion wollen wir einige der jüngsten Entwicklungen im Bereich der paläolithischen Archäologie Europas vorstellen und diskutieren. Beiträge werden aus verschiedenen Teilen Europas stammen und sowohl neue archäologische Funde als auch Anwendungen von interpretativen Ansätzen vorstellen. Zusätzlich werden sie sich mit ethnoarchäologischen, anthropologischen und archäologischen Aspekten des Themas auseinandersetzen.  Paläolithische Archäologie wird traditionell von zwei verschiedenen Forschungstraditionen dominiert. Auf der einen Seite finden sich typologische und technologische Ansätze, die sich hauptsächlich mit paläolithischen Artefakten beschäftigen. Diese Form der Untersuchung findet sich hauptsächlich in Mitteleuropa und Frankreich. Auf der anderen Seite wird paläolithische Archäologie, vor allem in Anglo-Amerikanischen Ländern, von ökologischen bzw.  ökonomischen Erklärungsmodellen beherrscht. In beiden Fällen besteht die generelle Gefahr, dass paläolithische Gesellschaften entpersonalisiert werden und dass eine mechanistische Version der Vergangenheit geschaffen wird.  Im Gegensatz dazu wollen wir in dieser Sektion Möglichkeiten diskutieren, über diese Konzepte hinauszukommen. Ein Anliegen wird es sein, komplexere Versionen der paläolithischen Vergangenheit zu entwerfen, in denen sowohl Personen als auch Gegenstände als aktive Elemente in der Produktion der Gesellschaft und der Auseinandersetzung mit der Umwelt gesehen werden. Ein anderes Problem, welches angesprochen werden soll, ist die Art und Weise, wie paläolithische Artefakte in sozialen Beziehungen hergestellt und produziert wurden. Diese Ideen werden verschiedene Auswirkungen für unser Verständnis der paläolithischen Nutzung von Landschaften, der Strukturation von Fundstellen und der raum-zeitlichen Entwicklung von Operationsketten bei der Herstellung von Artefakten haben.  Mit dieser Sektion hoffen wir daher ein Forum zu schaffen, in dem diverse und komplexe Wege diskutiert werden können, um sowohl materielle als auch praktische und ideologische Aspekte von paläolithischen Gesellschaften in Europa zu verstehen.

Archaeologies of industrial labour

Between Caucasus and Danube - Prehistoric communication across the Northern Pontic step (Aeneolithic to Early Iron Age)

Prehistoric ceramics in Europe: Recent research and current trends

Rock-art and views of the world

EAA Fifth Annual Meeting Homepage

Bournemouth University Archaeology Homepage

European Association of Archaeologists Homepage

              This page has been compiled and is maintained by Jeff Chartrandjchartra@bournemouth.ac.uk, and Eileen Wilkes ewilkes@bournemouth.ac.ukSchool of Conservation Sciences consci@bournemouth.ac.uk, Bournemouth University. Last Updated 25 August 1999