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Posted by Doug Rocks-Macqueen

Another session of videos from the EAA conference.

Session Abstract

Urban development is one of the most pressing topics within Early Medieval archaeology. Among scholars there is heated debate about how to think about and study these urban places before the emergence of “proper” High Medieval towns. Strategies range from analyses of Latin vocabulary from contemporary historical sources, to the application of Polanyis’ concept of “ports of trade”, to the use of neologisms such as “early towns” or “proto-towns” or lately the simple the designation of “Viking-age towns” or “towns of the age”. However, apart from a few exceptions (e.g. the works of R. Hodges or J. Callmer), discussions soon turn into debates over terminology rather than on the actual nature of these sites, and most studies have fail in one decisive way: the sites under discussion are treated as monolithic entities instead of dynamic environments with distinct development phases and different characteristics over their often considerable periods of existence.

Archaeologically, this misconception is often predominately based on the mid-phase of an urban development, which has been taken as representative for the site as a whole. Being covered by metres of cultural layers, a search for these settlements’ spatially limited roots can literary turn into a quest for a needle in a haystack. The latest Early Medieval developments on the other hand are often either largely disturbed in the plow layers or strongly affected by the subsequent High Medieval settlement activities, including masonry construction and cellars. This session, therefore, seeks specifically to address the inconspicuous phases of urban development at both their inception phases and up through the latest Early Medieval structures on these sites. Papers in the session will address methodological problems, but more importantly, they will seek to widen our understanding of early urbanism as a complex and utterly dynamic process.

Saturday, 3 September 2016, 09:00-18:30
Faculty of Philology, Room 118
Author – Kalmring, Sven, Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, Schleswig, Germany
Co-author(s) – Tys, Dries, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium
Co-author(s) – Fleming, Robin, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, United States of America
Co-author(s) – Van Oosten, Roos, Leiden University, Amersfoort, Netherlands
Co-author(s) – Reilly, Eileen, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Co-author(s) – Crabtree, Pam, New York University, New York, United States of America
Keywords: early medieval, urbanisation
Emergence and Downfall of Viking Towns: The Concealed Phases within the Archaeological Record

https://youtu.be/J6JGBtPB7kU Author – Dr. Kalmring, Sven, Centre for Blatic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA), Schleswig, Germany (Presenting author)

Keywords: Concealed Phases, Urbanisiation, Viking Towns

In Viking studies one of the most attended field of research is – apart from the process of Christianisation and Scandinavia’s integration into the occidental Europe – the emergence of urbanism in a remote area where the concept of towns was never introduced before.Interestingly enough scholars agree on the fact that in Scandinavia itself only four sites can be regarded as urban at all. Despite their limited number these few sites tend to be conceived as chronologically rather monolithic entities taking the best preserved evidence as a characteristic for the whole settlements, which in fact have – mostly as a discontinuous phenomenon – have existed and change over a time period of some 250 to 300 years.The reason for this is due to the fact that the earliest traces of over time intensively settled communities are covered by metres of cultural layers and thus their spatially limited origins tend to be hard to trace down. And in some regard the same is true for their latest phases of development exposed to ploughing, erosion or modern construction. Despite these obstacles this paper wants to focus on just these hard to grasp phases in order to contribute to a more differentiated view on Viking urbanism in its chronological depth deserved.

Before and after the emporium. The early and late phases of Walichrum (Domburg-Oostkapelle, NL)

https://youtu.be/mzZ-gohTonc Author – Dr. Deckers, Pieterjan, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Etterbeek, Belgium (Presenting author)
Walichrum, situated near the present-day town of Domburg (Netherlands), is often referred to as one of the late Merovingian and Carolingian emporia, an interpretation mainly based on the substantial number of coins collected on the eroding beach by 19th-century antiquarians. However, a review of the full range of evidence makes clear that this emporium did not emerge out of nothing: situated nearby a Roman temple, the site probably continued to function as a cult site throughout the Early Middle Ages and derived some of its early significance as a trading site from this. Similarly, the significance of the site following the heyday of Carolingian rule, from the second half of the 9th century onwards, has been neglected. Previously, it was thought that the site was abandoned in the later 9th century, a few decades after a recorded Viking raid in AD 837. However, the re-evaluation of the evidence brought to light late 9th- to 11th-century material attesting to continued activity. This, in turn, necessitates a renewed assessment of the relationship with the nearby ringfort of Domburg. Previously the fort was thought of as a successor to Walichrum, the refuge of the latter’s inhabitants in the politically unstable post-Carolingian period.
Thanks to new research the fort area now emerges as an integral part of Walichrum from the 7th or 8th century onwards, long before the construction of the fort in the third quarter of the 9th century. This paper will trace the life trajectory of Walichrum, with special attention to these hitherto overlooked early and late phases. The developments on the site will be framed in wider discussions of landing places and urban settlements in northwestern Europe. This will be done in reference to the dynamic coastal landscape in which this site was located, which during the period under consideration developed from a remote barrier island in the Scheldt estuary, backed by an inhospitable tidal marsh, to the dune belt of a large island rich in sheep-grazing grounds. It will be argued that the site’s occupation history, in particular its final phase and ultimate disappearance, was determined to a large part by regional socio-political developments, in turn tied to much broader cultural and political changes in the North Sea area.

Bypassing monolithic entities: diachronic and spatially informed approaches to early medieval towns

https://youtu.be/TQlrhVA0OdA Author – Wouters, Barbora, Vrije Universiteit Brussel & University of Aberdeen, Brussel, Belgium (Presenting author)
Keywords: early medieval, geoarchaeology, urbanisation

The settlement areas of early medieval towns have in the past been subject to generalising interpretations of their character, layout and function. Changes in the towns’ dynamics over generations of town dwellers have not often been addressed, while these changes are the key to a multi-faceted understanding of the daily lives of the inhabitants, and how these may have changed over time. The complex nature of urban deposits has in some cases prompted excavation using a random division in spits, while an opposite reflex is necessary to produce a clearer phasing of each separate case. Before comparisons are made, the individual life trajectory of each town should be understood to its fullest. This paper examines how geoarchaeological approaches (micromorphology, microXRF, and other techniques) contribute to a more nuanced understanding of these towns, with a focus on the earliest and latest phases of the towns under study. Illustrating this approach with case studies from the Low Countries, including Tongeren and Antwerpen, and Scandinavia, such as Hedeby and Kaupang, this paper makes a case for a particularistic examination of early medieval towns before wider comparisons are made.
With current geoarchaeological methods, it is possible to record and interpret separate phases of each town in more detail, to collect finds accordingly and source dating materials more securely. It is also possible to add information about well-dated but unclear phases of the towns, such as in the case of homogeneous deposits, so-called dark earths. The latter often occur precisely at the beginning and perceived end of early medieval towns, making their interpretation a challenging endeavour. Not every single layer, event or nuance is captured by geoarchaeological means, but more details can be added to the state of the art of each individual town, perhaps even narrowing down the scope to particular changes at the scale of generations. Not just a diachronic approach, but one that takes into account diversity on a horizontal level as well, is necessary to further grasp the complexity of
these urban entities. A combination of a diachronic approach and spatially informed one on a micro-scale yields archaeological results with the strongest interpretive value, and, if integrated into the research project design from the very beginning, provides a way to contextualise the enormous amounts of material these sites produce.

Changing Places: a comparative discussion of London and Tours in the Early Medieval Period

https://youtu.be/1xDYDVJEwCM

Author – Donnelly, Harriet, The University of Sydney, St Leonards, Australia (Presenting author)
Keywords: early medieval, settlement patterns, urbanism

The settlements of Western Europe experienced a period of significant transition following the decline of Roman control in the 5th century AD. The movement of people and ideas resulted in change and reorganisation for many communities living in what had previously been Roman settlements. Such developments occurred both within the boundaries of the old structures, and by expanding or moving beyond those existing limits. Many of those sites which saw significant change developed slowly over a longer period of time, often not taking the recognisable Medieval shape until at least the 12th century. This paper examines the developmental stages that occurred at two settlements which saw significant changes from the 5th to 12th centuries AD;
London and Tours. Both developed according to a pattern of twin towns with the two halves divided by a small area with limited occupation. London and Tours were both hugely important settlements and a comparative discussion of respective changes at each site during this period highlights the various methods by which such settlements developed as well as providing insight into both a trade driven and monastic model of the twin town phenomenon. Examination of these sites and how they changed during the Early Medieval period, will enable a deeper understand of the complexity of urban development and transitional processes.

A Subersive Urbanism: Venice in the 9th century

https://youtu.be/i3EZH6O-VAI Author – Calaon, Diego, Stanford University, Stanford, United States of America (Presenting author)
Keywords: Adriatic, Emporia, Venice

How did Venice’s urban structure look like in the 9th century? Venice suffers from its own legends. The materiality of the rising Venice has been generally perceived as sites without time and space, where a fully established myth describes the origin of city. The Venetian lagoon, in fact, was the place where the noble Romans sought refuge from the barbarian hordes: they had been forced to move to unwelcoming islands among the marshes to be free and safe. In the islands the newcomers were able to rebuilt a place that – according the historic narratives – was ideologically and materially comparable to the old Roman sites.
The uncovered wood structures of the early medieval houses, for example, have been described as a poor reaction to a sudden displacement. Recent archaeological assessment, on the contrary, has shown how these buildings were confortable and perfectly designed for the lagoon environment. Clay foundations and wood structures were technically appropriate for a cold and humid setting. The choice of the lagoon itself was not forced. The settlement patterns were not extemporary, but followed precise social and economic designs. The settlement followed the movements of the lagoon and the river mouths: the first Venetians tried to occupy the more distant islets in order to control both the maritime and the riverine sailing routes. Artisanal productions (glass goblets, parchments, metal crafts) were not subsistence economies; the emporia layout of the sites allowed the circulation of raw materials, techniques and skilled people.
Venice was a proto-capitalistic site. A large part of the production (shipyard, timber industry, glass and metal productions, etc.) was made by labour forces with a status very similar to slaves. Probably, also, slaves were one of the most value goods, which the Venetians traded with the Islamic world. But slaves, dirty workshops or labour class issues are not good ingredients for the myth of the origins or for the official history of a superpower state. Venice proudly defined itself from the very beginning as a democracy and a free republic: Venetians needed a respectable and glorious past, and they made it up, reshaping also the “idea” of the early city.
The idea of the early Venice, moreover, cannot be separated from the present. Traditional archaeology, instead, has studied it as phase of the previous roman past. The archaeological study of its urbanism should it considered in the counter light of the fluid social negations that took place around a very specific environment, creating polyfocal sites, which will be cities in the following years.

How and when Venice became Venice. Framing the urban development of a trading town in Italy

https://youtu.be/ihoOjtoUbwI Author – Dr. Pazienza, Annamaria, Ca’Foscari University, Venice, Italy (Presenting author)
Keywords: Early Medieval Venice, Trading Town, Urban Identity

Venice was one of the most important cities in Europe in the late Middle Ages and the Modern era, when it formed an independent state which controlled trade across the Mediterranean and towards the Levant. A myth of Venetian uniqueness has been cultivated by local historians and international specialists which has always attributed to the town on the lagoon an innate and unique vocation for political autonomy and trade.
This in fact is only partially based on historical facts. Although some exceptional elements are observable – such as the local government of the Venetian public assembly (placitum) and the amphibian nature of the settlement – these elements have been much overestimated at least as far as the Early Middle Ages is concerned. In the 9th and 10th centuries the apparently novel appearance of Venice on the Italian political scene and the associated emergence of the Venetian public assembly presided over by the duke has numerous parallels in other parts of Italy where several urban communities, mostly represented by their bishops, started to act as social and political entities at the same time. In addition, the region around Venice demonstrated its own economic vitality with other towns competing for the control of the Adriatic sea well before the 9th century by engaging in maritime and artisanal activities remarkably similar to those of other settlements in Northern Europe, which archaeologists such as Chris Loveluck and Will Bowden usually call emporia.
Moreover, some recent reconstructions suggest that the rapid growth of Venice in the 8th and 9th centuries can be explained by the conjunction of the contemporary expansion of the Carolingian empire which increased demand for luxury goods with Venice’s special location on the sea near a great river delta (the Po). Although it is likely that the convergence of both these factors had played a major role in the sudden development of the city, it is often forgotten that Venice shared the same ecological position and the same economic system with many other trading towns at least in this earlier period.
These facts pose other challenges to the traditional triumphalist explanations. Why did Venice enjoy a more durable success in a longterm perspective with respect to other towns? What exactly made the difference in the Venetian case? Was it mere coincidence that Venice was the seat of a political authority, the doge, whereas the other emporia were not? Was the fact that this authority was secular (a duke) rather than religious (a bishop) as elsewhere the key point?
The paper will seek to answer these questions by analysing the case of Venice in a comparative context and in the light of both archaeological data and written sources, by suggesting for the city, before 1050, typicity rather than exceptionality in terms of population size, accumulation of wealth and socio-economic development.

The origins of urbanization in the forest-steppe zone of Western Siberia

https://youtu.be/uiNaS_G_CaA Author – Tsembalyuk, Svetlana, Institute of problems of devepment of the North, Tyumen, Russian Federation (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Anoshko, Oksana, Institute of problems of devepment of the North, Tyumen, Russian Federation
Co-author(s) – Berlin, Svetlana, Institute of problems of devepment of the North, Tyumen, Russian Federation
Keywords: fortresses, urbanization, Western Siberia

A huge archeological material testifies that the origins of urbanization in Western Siberia should be associated with the formation of ancient fortified settlements – fortresses that appeared on this territory in the Bronze Age and protocities formed in the early Iron Age.The first simple fortifications in the form of stockades or fortified dwellings in the forest-steppe zone of Trans-Urals are fixed on the materials of the Bronze Age monuments (the II millennium BC). During this period their number was insignificant, the bulk continued to be unfortified villages.The increase in the number of fortified settlements was greater in the transition period from bronze to iron (the 2nd quarter of the 1st millennium BC). They were round-oval in shape towns with area up to 4 hectares.
There were major suburbs around them. The citadels of the time were poorly fortified fences. The appearance of first fortifications is connected with the destabilization of the political situation in the region as a result of the influx of migrants from the North of Western Siberia. Then the strengthening of the village with a palisade or a fence was not defensive but probably ideological in nature. The aim was to preserve their cultural traditions within phratry.In the early Iron Age (the middle of the 1st millennium BC – the middle of the 1st millennium AD) the number of settlements increases. In the forest-steppe zone of Trans-Urals they number more than 100. One-third of excavated settlements are multicultural, from 15 to 20 fortified settlements belonged to carriers of certain traditions. Within this period the dynamics of fortification is well traced. Fortifications of early stage continue the tradition of the transition from bronze to iron time. Archaeologically they are fixed in the form of small grooves on the perimeter, holes for posts, charcoal and traces of burnt wooden structures in the embankment of the earthen rampart. They are reconstructed as a hedge of stockade fence around the residential area. Most of them could not perform a defensive function. Already at that
time there is specialization of fortified settlements as centers of metalworking, import, exchange, cooperation of multicultural
population.By the 5-3 centuries BC increasing complexity of fortifications is recorded. The number, height and power of the earthen ramparts with wooden fortifications in the form of the palisades, fences, walls, crates, towers and surrounding ditches are increased. There is not only a general tendency to strengthen the fortifications, but also to the complexity of their structure: double-, triple area settlements are emerging. The search for new forms, combinations of known elements and structures to enhance the overall defense capability is noted. The materials of some fortresses recorded import items of Chinese and Central Asian origin indicating them as centers of trade and exchange. The fortresses became the centers of origin and transmission of cultural innovation, and the process of urbanization and the resulting changes in the ancient and medieval societies to the greatest extent determined the development of the region.

The early urban development in the steppes

https://youtu.be/Mt67ZbWPzwM Author – Dr. Habil. Ochir-Goryaeva, Institute of archaeology Tatrstan academy of sciences,
Kazan, Russian Federation (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Dr. Habil. Sitdikov, A., Institute of archaeology Tatrstan academy of sciences, Kazan, Russian Federation
Co-author(s) – Kiyashko, Y., Volgograd State University, Volgograd, Russian Federation
Keywords: Chasarian Kaganat, steppe, urban development

The earliest urban sites in the East European steppe date to the Early Medieval Epoch and, in particular, to the time of the Chasarian Kaganat (from the 7th to the 9th cc). So far their number has been limited to several, now famous, urban developments located along the Don river such as Sarkel-Belaya Vezha, Pravoberezhnoye Tsimlyanskoye gorodishe (urban development), and Semikarakorskoye gorodishe. Numerous urban developments in the adjacent areas of the foreststeppe Podonye (the Don basin valley) and Pridneprovye (the Dnepr basin valley) dating to the Chasarian epoch are representative of the material culture of the Don Alan, Bulgar, Oguz, Pecheneg, and Slavs. Those of the Crimea and the Northern Caucasus associate with the culture of local sedentary populations who were agrarians. Only those sites that are located between the Don and the Volga belonged to the Chasarian Kaganat proper, hence it is these urban developments that can be related to ethnic Chasarians. The last decades saw simultaneous discoveries of several sites of the Chasarian Kaganat in the Volga-Don steppe. In the late 1990s at a kilometer distance from the Pravoberezhnoye Tsimlyanskoye gorodishe an urban development was opened, which contained the ruins of fortress walls of white lime stone. One of the stone blocks displayed a tamga of a typically Chasarian shape. The new fortress got the designation of Sarkel-3 as a part of the whole agglomeration complex that includes also Sarkel and Pravoberezhnoye Tsimlyanskoye urban developments. At the same time a Chasarian epoch lower layer was opened under the layers of the Golden Horde urban center on the site at the village of Samosdelka in the Volga estuary. According to the archeologists that led the exavations, the geographical position and the character of the constructions of the Samosdelka lower layer suggest that these may be the remnants of the town of Itil´. In 2008 followed the opening of the Bashanta gorodishe that contained the ruins of constructions made of white clam shell stone and tile fragments parallel to those found in late Chersonesus on the Crimean peninsula (Jacobson, 1958, 1964). One of the stone blocks also had a tamga cut in it. According to two radiocarbon dates ( 622- 655 at 68.3% and 600-662 at 95.4 %) and ( 672 – 782 at 90.6 %), resulting from the analysis carried out by Leibnitz Laboratory of the Kiel University (Germany), Bashanta turns out to be the earliest of the urban developments in the East European steppe dating to the time of the Chasarian Kaganat. The excavations of 2000-2005 of a number of late medieval urban centers and developments in the Lower Volga, undertaken by the Khalikov Institute of Archeology of the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, resulted in discovering cultural layers dating to the pre-Mongolian epoch. As a number of the recovered finds show, they may also be dated to the time
of the Chasarian Kaganat. Thus, further effort along the lines will contribute to an understanding of early medieval urbanism in the archeology of Europe.

Viking age settlement networks and the rise of the early urban centers on the Upper Volga

https://youtu.be/AplEz7h6TWs Author – academician Makarov, Nikolay, Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation (Presenting author)
Keywords: large unfortified settlements,early urbanization, Upper Volga

Early urbanization of Northern Rus’, including Upper-Volga region, is usually presented as the formation of the trading centers which emerged in IX-X cc on the river routes from the Baltic to the East in connection with the Cufic silver circulation and later developed in the centers of control over the trade networks. This vision of the early urban centers of Rus’ was strongly inspired by the studies of emporia in North-Western Europe. One of the central issues of this concept is the idea of drastic contrasts between the rural sites and the early towns, both in their economical background and cultural shape. Field investigations in the Suzdal Opolie region in the Upper Volga, which constituted the core area of North-Eastern Rus’, conducted in the two recent decades, produced extensive new data on the Viking age and Medieval settlement, cultural landscapes, rural sites and early towns with the perspective of better understanding of settlement hierarchy and social contexts.
More than 100 dwelling sites with the find material of the X-th- the XI- th cc. were mapped and surveyed in Suzdal Opolie. Most important elements of this network were the «large unfortified settlements» – extensive unfortified sites or site clusters, with the area from 4 to 15 hectare.
Dwelling sites of this category produce evidence of trade, craft production and agrarian activities, as well as of prosperity and high social status of a number of the settlers. Suzdal town, known from the written sources as the main urban center in the region, became noticeable only in the XIth century. There is no evidence of its social and political importance in the X-the c. The rise of Suzdal town didn’t lead to the collapse or decay of the «large settlements». Most of them produce evidence of development and prosperity in the XI-th c.
Large unfortified settlements of Suzdal land have much in common with the sites in different regions of Rus’, which were earlier attributed as proto-urban centers or trading centers on the river routes. The difference is that the former could hardly be regarded as the sites with the «central functions». 10 dwelling sites were concentrated in considerably small area, the distance between the neighboring sites varied from 6 to 14 km. Another important point is that large unfortified settlements couldn’t have been used for the control over the water-routes. They are located on the small rivers, often – on the watersheds.
Field work at the sites of Suzdal Opolie lead to re-evaluation of the interpretation of sites, which were formerly regarded as emporia or proto-urban centers in the Upper Volga, like Timerevo and Sarskoe near Rostov. Their status in the settlement hierarchy probably was overestimated. New investigations reveal, that long-distance trade in the Upper Volga in the Viking age was not monopolized by one single center – it developed through the formation of considerable wide network of sites.

The emergence of Odense, the third largest city of Denmark. Methods, definitions and dynamics

https://youtu.be/ExRhSYHs7nc Author – Dr. Runge, Mads, Odense Bys Museer/Odense City Museums, Odense C, Denmark (Presenting author)
Keywords: Ringfort, Urbanism, Viking Age

The Viking Age and Medieval center of Odense were before the introduction of the systematical archaeology heavily destroyed by development work without prior archaeological excavation. This means that the earliest history of the town rests on fragmentized ground.
An ongoing research project responds to this and has started the chase on the earliest history of Odense. The project is based on a dynamic model for urbanism combined with new analysis on older material, among others new AMS-datings. At the same time new large-scale excavations in the city center brings new possibilities to get the most out of the remaining parts of the city’s past.
Also a new excavation at the ringfort (trelleborg) Nonnebakken is relevant in this aspect. The paper will focus on the following questions: Why is it Odense and not one of the other late iron age central places that becomes the central city? What is the significance of Nonnebakken – the only trelleborg nearby a contemporary city – in relation to the making of Odense? Or is it the ringfort that is placed by the city? May a smaller trade- and crafts area be seen as an urban phenomenon? Or must there be more to it? These questions are essential in the context of Odense, but will be used also to address central points in a principal discussion on methodologically challenges, definitions and dynamics regarding early urbanism.

More than a landing site, less than a vicus. Medieval Gasir in northern Iceland

https://youtu.be/eftKt5B7ZS4 Author – Prof. Vésteinsson, Orri, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland (Presenting author)

Co-author(s) – Roberts, Howell, Institute of Archaeology, Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
Co-author(s) – Gisladóttir, G , Institute of Archaeology, Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
Keywords: Iceland, Medieval, Trade

Gásir is well known from historical records as the main trading site in northern Iceland in the medieval period. The site has extensive ruins and a church and when large-scale excavations began in 2001 it was expected that direct evidence would be found of exchanges between foreign merchants and native Icelanders. 6 years of meticulous excavation failed to identify much evidence for trade taking place at the site, which nevertheless has several of the attributes normally associated with emporia. This has raised questions about the nature of the site and the nature of trade in a marginal economy like Iceland’s.
The paper discusses the evidence unearthed at Gasir and places it in the context of social and economic organization in the medieval North Atlantic.

From late prehistoric harbours to medieval towns in the eastern coast of the Baltic

https://youtu.be/_p_vgwh9fXE Author – Dr. Mägi, Marika, Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia (Presenting author)

Keywords: development of towns in the Eastern Baltic, late Iron Age centres, trade and communication

Although several international trade routes run through the Eastern Baltic, Viking Age hill-forts and settlements are predominantly found along Estonian northern and insular coasts, while the number of them along Latvian and Lithuanian coasts was quite modest. The situation changed in the 11th-12th centuries, as several coastal settlements were taken into intensive use. Not all of them developed into medieval towns, and some medieval towns were established in places without any prior settlement. My speech focuses on the predecessors of two present-day Eastern Baltic capitals, Tallinn and Riga. Both of them were founded as medieval towns in the first quarter of the 13th century, however it is at first glimpse the two cities’ differences that stands out. Quite a number of 12th-century archaeological remains have been uncovered in Riga, while in Tallinn no pre-13th century archaeological layer has been demonstrated below streets and walls of the Old Town so far, despite of numerous archaeological excavations. However, settlement remains were recorded a couple of hundred meters away from the Old Town of Tallinn. A closer look also reveals other similarities in the natal phase of Tallinn and Riga, e. g. adjacent hill-forts and the vicinity of probable cultplaces. Their similarities also include topographic location of the those accompanying sites, and their place in an overall culture historical complex. It depends on one’s research methods, favourite theoretical schools and later history how to interpret the sites under present-day Tallinn and Riga. Looking around in the Baltic Rim, parallels can be found for the development of these sites, while comparisons to similar settlements with somewhat different later history may be drawn on Eastern Baltic coasts. Ideas of
the origin and development of prehistoric Riga and Tallinn will accordingly be presented in my speech, placing them in a broader
international context.

 

The rural component in the early urban development of Brussels, Belgium

https://youtu.be/fanirQeWQ8k Author – Dr. Nicosia, Cristiano, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Devos, Yannick, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium
Co-author(s) – Vrydaghs, Luc, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium
Co-author(s) – Charruadas, Pablo, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium
Co-author(s) – Degraeva, Ann, Head of the Department of Archaeological Heritage, Bruxelles, Belgium
Keywords: Bruxelles, Geoarchaeology, Urban agriculture

The study of the early development of Brussels, Belgium, has shown to be a challenge. Over the last century historians have heavily debated on the scarce existing – often very questionable – historical sources, trying to explain the emergence of this city situated along a steep slope bordering the Senne river. In the last decades, a new generation of historians underlined the importance of agricultural development and expansion as an important factor for the early development of Brussels (Charruadas, 2011).
Of course the question should be raised whether there are any archaeological data supporting this hypothesis. Despite the many interventions taking place over the last decades in the centre of Brussels, no remains of farmsteads have been recovered. But archaeologists do almost systematically encounter dark earth dating from the 10th-13th century AD, period where the historians situate the early town development.
An interdisciplinary approach has been developed to study these dark earths, involving not only historical research and archaeology, but also geoarchaeological (including soil micromorphology and physico-chemical analyses) and archaeobotanical studies. These studies highlight that several human activities can be hidden behind complex formation processes, some related to the development of an agro-pastoral system (Devos et al., 2009; 2011; 2013; Vrydaghs et al., 2016).
The present contribution will discuss the results of the study of these dark earth units, and demonstrate how they contributed to the understanding of the early town development and the importance of agricultural activities, the location of crop and pasture land, and the cultivated crops.
References:
Charruadas, P., 2011. Croissance rurale et essor urbain bruxelles. Les dynamiques d’une société entre ville et campagnes
(1000-1300) . Académie royale de Belgique, Brussels.
Devos, Y., Vrydaghs, L., Degraeve, A., Fechner, K., 2009. An archaeopedological and phytolitarian study of the “Dark Earth”
on the site of rue de Dinant (Brussels, Belgium). Catena 78, 270-284.
Devos, Y., Vrydaghs, L., Degraeve, A., Modrie, S., 2011. Unravelling Urban Stratigraphy; the Study of Brussels’ (Belgium) Dark
Earth. An Archaeopedological Perspective. Medieval and Modern Matters 2, 51-76.
Devos, Y., Nicosia, C., Vrydaghs, L., Modrie, S., 2013. Studying urban stratigraphy: Dark Earth and a microstratified sequence on
the site of the Court of Hoogstraeten (Brussels, Belgium).
Integrating archaeopedology and phytolith analysis. Quaternary International 315, 147-166. Vrydaghs, L., Devos, Y.,
Charruadas, P., Scott Cummings, L. & Degraeve, A., 2016. Agricultural Activities in the 10th–13th Century CE in Brussels (Belgium):
An Interdisciplinary Approach. In: Retamero, F., Schjellerup, I. & Davies, A. (eds.), Agricultural and Pastoral Landscapes in Pre-
Industrial Society: Choices, Stability and Change. Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 221-234. (=Early Agricultural Remnants and
Technical Heritage (EARTH): 8000 Years of Resilience and Innovation, 3).

An agrarian town? – understanding the earliest phase of the medieval town Odense in Denmark

 

https://youtu.be/EKRkYKZPya0 Author – PhD student Haase, Kirstine, Aarhus University, School of Culture and Society, Kolding, Denmark (Presenting author)
Keywords: Medieval archaeology, Urbanization

This paper will discuss how to understand the early development of Odense seen through the archaeological record. Is it possible to see if, how and when the town transformed from agrarian to urban during the 11th to 16th Century? Untill now the evidence of the earliest history of Odense has mainly been based on the sparse remains of a Viking Age ring fortress and written sources testifying to Odense as a place of significance from around 1000 CE. Recent large-scale excavations have offered the opportunity to study this early phase of the town from an archaeological point of view emphasizing the physical remains and change in use of space.
Up to several meters of well-preserved stratigraphy were excavated applying a strictly managed contextual method, reflexive interpretation of the formation of the cultural deposits and sampling for macro botanical, zoo archaeological and micromorphological analysis. With an extensive finds assemblage and well-preserved structures such as booths, houses, byres and stables, latrines, paths, roads, fences, manureheaps and much more the site data forms the basis for addressing the question if certain features can be distinguished as agrarian or urban and how these features change over time.

Craftspeople in emporia – the original cast. Non-ferrous metalworkers in eighth century Ribe

https://youtu.be/mFRR5SDtP-o Author – Prof. Sindbaek, Soren, Aarhus University, H jbjerg, Denmark (Presenting author)

Co-author(s) – Neiss, Michael, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Co-author(s) – Croix, Sarah, Aarhus University, H jbjerg, Denmark
Keywords: 3D laser scanning, Crafts, Urbanism

This paper argues that the organization of crafts had an imperative significance for the emergence of urban environments in early medieval emporia in Northern Europe. This is demonstrated in a re-assesment of a non-ferrous metal workshop from the eighth century excavated in Ribe, Denmark. 3D laser scans are used to classify previously unidentified mould fragments, and new identifications are offered as a result. The results show that the workshop produced a range of items including bits for horse harness, chests with elaborate locks and dress ornaments. In each case the finished product demanded a range of specialized materials, and thus presumably the skills and expertise of a group of craftsmen. This need for collaboration between specialized artisans was a vital reason why permanent communities of an urban character emerged in ports with privileged access to imported materials. This offers the basis of a revised model for the emergence of urbanism in the North Sea region.

Multimetal smithing – An urban craft in rural settings?

https://youtu.be/VYnSo6CoZos Author – Svensson, Andreas, Lund University, Lund, Sweden (Presenting author)
Keywords: Complex metalworking, Multimetality, Urban package

Multimetal smithing should be defined as the use of more than one metal and/or different metalworking techniques within the same crafts-milieu. This complex metalworking has long been linked to centrality, central places and urbanity in Scandinavia. It has been extensively argued that fine casting and smithing, as well as manufacture utilizing precious metals was exclusively undertaken within early urban settings or the “central places” pre-dating these. Furthermore, the presence of complex metal craftsmanship has been used as a driving indicator of the political, social and economic superiority of certain sites, thereby enhancing their identity as “centralities”.
Recent research has come to challenge the universality of this link between urbanity, centrality and complex metalworking as sites in rural settings with evidence of multimetal smithing are being identified. This shows that the relationship between the craft and centrality (urbanity) must be nuanced and that perhaps multimetal craftsmanship should be reconsidered as an urban indicator.
The thesis project “From Crucible and onto Anvil” started in 2015 and focuses on sites housing remains of multimetal craftsmanship dating primarily from 500-1000 AD. Within the project a comprehensive survey of sites will be used to evaluate the presence of multimetal craftsmanship in the landscape. Sites in selected target areas will also be subject to intra-site analysis focusing on workshop organisation, production output, metalworking techniques and chronological variances.
A key aim in the project is to elucidate the conceptual aspects of complex metalworking. The term multimetality is used to analytically frame all the societal and economic aspects of multimetal craftsmanship. Through this inclusive perspective both the craftsmanship and the metalworkers behind it are positioned within the overall socioeconomic framework. The metalworkers, their skills and competences as well as the products of their labour are viewed as dynamic actors in the landscape and on the arenas of political economy of the Late Iron Age.
The survey has already revealed interesting aspects concerning multimetal smithing and urbanity. Although the multimetal sites do cluster against areas of early urban development there are also other patterns emerging. Multimetal craftsmanship – both as practice and concept – was well represented in both rural peripheral settings and urban crafts-milieus. This means that the role of multimetality as part of an “urban conceptual package” is crucial to investigate. Such an approach will have the dual ends of properly understanding the craft and its societal implications, but also further the knowledge of the phenomenon of urbanity as a whole. Was multimetal smithing part of an “urban package” that spread into the rural landscape? Did the multimetality differ between urban and rural crafts-milieus? How does early urbanity relate to the chronology of multimetal craftsmanship?
This paper aims to counter these questions using examples from the survey of multimetal sites conducted within the thesis project. A comparison between selected sites will be presented. The purpose of this is to evaluate the role of multimetality within the “urban package” and discuss the role of complex metalworking in the establishment of urban arenas of interaction in Late Iron Age Scandinavia.

The Trajectory of the Productive Limfjord Region AD 600-1100 – Exploring Changing Economic Patterns

https://youtu.be/oDNOsLVcye8 Author – Christiansen, Torben Trier, Aarhus University, Arden, Denmark (Presenting author)
Keywords: Metal-detector finds, Regional spatial analysis, Socioeconomic change

Until the western exit sanded up in the early 12th century, the Limfjord (Northern Jutland) had played a central marine infrastructural role. Prior to the closing of the western exit, the fjord offered a comfortable shortcut for anyone sailing between the Kattegat and the North Sea, and the significance of the region during the Viking Age is clearly reflected in written sources as well as in the archaeological record. During the late 10th century Aggersborg, the largest of the Danish ring fortresses, was erected at the centre of the Limfjord region; and at approximately the same time the first activity is traceable at what was to become the capital of the region, the town of Aalborg, close to the eastern exit of the fjord. In addition to this, large metal-rich settlements are situated on every hill by the fjord – a dense system of villages that were presumably led by local magnates. However, despite clear signs of high economic activity and increased specialization of some crafts, there is little evidence of a regional settlement hierarchy
and centralization prior to the existence of Aggersborg and the urban development at Aalborg; and parallel to the growth of the latter, activity seems to increase in most of the neighbouring coastal villages. The general impression left by the archaeological record is one of a remarkable regional productivity during most of the first millennium AD and during the following centuries too.
This paper discusses the socioeconomic development of the region and seeks to illuminate the dynamics behind the broad regional productivity during the centuries prior to and parallel to the first urban development. Fresh results from spatial and chronological analysis of a large corpus of metal-detector finds challenge previous notions of settlement continuity and emphasize the presence of distinct regional patterns of socioeconomic change.

No town is an island

https://youtu.be/QdoTASm1HY4 Author – PhD Jessen, Mads Dengs , National Museum of Denmark, Kbh. K, Denmark (Presenting author)

Keywords: Architecture, Aristocracy, Production site

The current paper aims to highlight the differing strata of localities on which the establishment of the network of Viking Age towns rested. This is to be understood as the possible developmental dependency the bigger and perhaps more centrally positioned early towns might have had on the smaller and more resident types of localities. Special attention will be paid to the different kind of production sites which has been registered in South Scandinavia. Quite often these sites are characterized by a special type of archaeological structures and by being topographically interwoven with the more elaborate agenda of the (local) aristocracy.
The newly excavated sites of Toftum N s, Jutland (Denmark), will be presented as case in point, and the special features that have been registered here will be discussed. In particular the conspicuous architecture will figure prominently; a very sturdily built and thus high structure which can only be interpreted as a tower is placed in companion with a succession of larger hall-type buildings, and a possible ritual building. This ‘aristocratic quarter‘ is in direct contact with another area characterized by a larger pit-house cluster of more the a 100 units, and placed in the vicinity of two conjoining streams. The different structures mentioned and their internal, topographical distribution as well as architectural features will be incorporated as the main base for a functional interpretation of and motive behind the buildings and the activities pertaining to the site in general.
The topic of commercial control and what type of influence the aristocracy had on the early development on these types of sites will be included. Furthermore, the structural fluctuation of the site at Toftum N s, and in particular the changes which seems to have taken place during the 7th and 8th century, both at the site in question, but also with regards to the overall development of the Viking Age towns, will be debated in the paper.

Production and Distribution networks in the Diocese of Tuam, West of Ireland, AD 500-1000

https://youtu.be/vsGapGWCSw8 Author – Tighe, John, Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Ireland (Presenting author)

Keywords: Church/Secular, Economic development, Trade

The discussion of early medieval urban development in Ireland is dominated by the coastal emporia of the Vikings at Dublin, Waterford etc. As vigorous the Vikings were in facilitating broad social and economic change, they were still an ethnic minority in Ireland, so it is imperative to look at sites with little or no Viking connection. There are pre-Viking ‘ports of trade’ which while similar to English wics, although seem to develop slightly earlier and not to have an organised plan.
These include sites such as Doonloughan, a coastal site where exchange happened in the eighth century. The primary mode of the production of crops is thought to have been by buying in the grain, as there is a lack of evidence for on-site production with the grain samples excavated being entirely free of chaff. The site, and possibly others like it were not permanently used, but seems to have been occupied between late spring and early autumn, the very same as the main sailing season for much of Europe.
This form of exchange may have been brought into fruition as increased specialisation of production coupled with increased opportunities to exchange. This may have had a direct impact on the decline of the importance of the cow can be seen as a move away from the type of economy, widespread in pre-Roman Europe, where an items value was bestowed upon it not because of its intrinsic value, like that of the silver economy which the Vikings helped to develop, but in its cultural value. The silver bracelets found at places like Cushalogurt, Co. Mayo and Portumna, Co. Galway could indicate a much richer trade network through peripheral Ireland, or at least a heavier Viking presence in the area than previously thought.
While the terminology of ecclesiastical sites, particularly the use of ‘civitas’ to describe sites such as Kildare, has smudged the idea of what constituted urban in this context, it is clear that these establishments acted as centres of production and distribution, in a way that ringforts could not in the unstable political milieu of the day. This research is focused on the Diocese of Tuam, centred on Tuam, which was a centre of exchange in this period, with a high cross being erected to delineate the boundary of the secular and the ecclesiastical. The role of the church in providing centres of production and manufacture cannot be doubted, especially in the unstable and fragmented political milieu of early medieval Ireland.
While market exchange was seen as primarily an urban phenomenon, sites such as Doonloughan and Tuam have shown that despite the west of Ireland being largely ignored when talking about the Early Medieval Irish economy, its peripheral nature then and now, mitigates the problem of modern urban development that is common, particularly among the environments of formerly Viking emporia. I hope, through this work, to provide a framework for further investigation of the early medieval economy, not only within Ireland, but also for other comparable regions of Europe.

Early medieval urban life in the Low Countries before the 10th-11th c.: approaches and problems

https://youtu.be/nFbE1Q6aIsk Author – Professor Dries, Tys, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium (Presenting author)
Keywords: diversity, Low Countries, Research

The Low Countries were together with Northern Italy the most heavily urbanized regions of the medieval world. The origin and understanding of this phenomenon has been debated in a long and impressive historiographical debate, involving famous scholars like Pirenne, Weber, Verhulst and others.
Today we agree that the take-off of the successful towns can be related to the organisation and stimulus of trade in the context of power in the 10th and 11th centuries. The debate remains however on how to understand the evolution and character of the urban phenomenon before the 10th-11th century. This debate will always tend to suffer from both teleological thinking towards the road of success and the stress on the question of continuity between Roman centres and later towns. The main problem regarding our archaeological understanding of urban life, fabric and functions seems to be that they can have totally different material translations that might be not always be recognisable from the modern perspective. The question is therefor maybe what different forms urban life and functions could have and which methods we need to identify these.

A town in the making – exploring early urbanity of Copenhagen through the study of social practices

https://youtu.be/33P1u5wqVI8 Author – MA Dahlström, Hanna, Aarhus University, Højbjerg, Denmark (Presenting author)
Keywords: iron processing, social practices, urbanity

Classical ways of defining urbanity are ill-matched with the early  phases of a developing town, and indeed often with the archaeological source material at hand. New ways to describe urbanity in a way that is easier to recognize through archaeology are called for. In my PhD-project I explore some new aspects to this problem by studying urbanity through social practices in the first phases of the developing town of Copenhagen, Denmark. One of these areas concerns crafting, specifically iron processing. Through four areas of study, I analyse the material remains of social practices undertaken on the site of Town Hall Square c. AD 1050-1300. This paper will discuss the two questions: What can the study of social practices connected to the iron processing activities, in combination with technical analyses, reveal of urban development, of people and networks involved in the iron handling? And what can the role of iron processing have been for the early development of Copenhagen?

Small town in medieval Russia: the ratio of agricultural, craft and administrative functions

https://youtu.be/Sf1QNpDZZ3o Author – Koval, Vladimir, Institute of archaeology RAS, Voscow, Russian Federation (Presenting author)
Keywords: administrative function, agrarian towns, small towns

Small towns in medieval Russia remains one of the most mysterious phenomena. Unlike the cities of Europe and the Orient, the medieval (11-16 cc.) Rower structures founded towns in Russia primarily as administrative points. Therefore agricultural component of their life was most vital.
However, these towns soon transformed to centers of trade and crafts. If this transformation did not occur, town became unviable died quickly. But the ruralization of life persisted in many towns to the 20th c.


(no subject)

Mar. 29th, 2017 09:19 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] thatyourefuse!

What does this remind me of?

Mar. 28th, 2017 08:21 pm
oursin: My photograph of Praire Buoy sculpture, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana, overwritten with Urgent, Phallic Look (urgent phallic)
[personal profile] oursin

Yet another case in which a bloke who has committed significant violence against a woman, of which there is no possible doubt, walks free (well, suspended sentence) apparently on the basis that it would ruin a promising career if he went to jail. (Which it does turn out he was somewhat less than truthful about.)

And okay, I have been seeing these sorts of cases for a very long time now, and one might even have hoped that this sort of thing would have come to an end -

And we note that it is very, very rare for anyone in the legal system or even in the reporting, to express any concern over the damage done to the woman's potential through injuries, long-term effects of trauma, etc.

So, I was thinking about this, and what came to mind was a famous 'gotcha' argument popular among the anti-abortion forces c. 1970 or so, which was to posit a particular case of mother with several children, family straits, disease, and when anyone remarked that it seemed a clear case for termination would go 'aha! you have terminated Beethoven!' (there may have been other instances: that is the one I remember).

Because women's lives have no value except for the male offspring they bear... (though statistically, very few of those are going to be Beethoven*).

A thought which would have led me to hurl against the wall, except that they were library books, far too many works of sf/fantasy in which a woman underwent various adventures and travails and this was not to fit her for her own role as The Chosen One, it was to get her in place to bear The Chosen One.

*Given all the relative advantages in terms of education and parental investment, relatively few men have ever been Shakespeare/Newton/Beethoven/etc. I will also reiterate here my argument that Great Male Leaders were not necessarily able to outwrestle all the men they lead, it was not about simply physical superiority.

oursin: Photograph of Stella Gibbons, overwritten IM IN UR WOODSHED SEEING SOMETHIN NASTY (woodshed)
[personal profile] oursin

Mixed martial arts is the fastest-growing sport on Earth.... what does this bloody spectacle say about the world we live in?

I don't know what, if anything, it says about the world we live in, but that article suggests to me someone who does not know a great deal about the history of sport/popular entertainment - I am like, o tempora, o mores, what are these days when somebody can write an article on fighting as spectacle and not name-check gladiators in the Coliseum? Infamy, infamy, etc.

I am totally given to wonder what a person knows about the history of sport if they can write this:

Victorian rules of football and rugby codified an attitude towards team play that made sense in the factory and on the battlefield.
Victorian rules were the imposition of a disciplinary structure (where is Michel Foucault when you need him?) on the rather more freeform sports constituting various kinds of football: which pretty much combined the football and the hooliganism in one package.

See also, boxing before Queensbury: not that boxing in its present form doesn't have significant risks, even if they're long term ones about brain damage rather than blood on the floor.

I suspect that there is a significant history of sports starting as something close to a brawl and gradually developing rules, rather than the rules coming first.

On a somewhat less extreme level, beach volleyball has that pattern of informality to codification.

I am also, why is he not, if not doing historical analogies, linking this woezery to a loooong tradition of dystopian fiction? - because the concept was not a new one in The Hunger Games.

Culinary

Mar. 26th, 2017 07:21 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Friday night supper: Gujerati khicchari.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft rolls: 2:2:1 strong white/wholemeal/dark rye flour, maple sugar, sour cherries.

Today's lunch: the gratin provencale thing, with sweet potatoes (I grossly overestimated the quantity of sweet potato I would need) and tapenade: with okra roasted in pumpkin seed oil and splashed with raspberry vinegar, cos lettuce dressed with lime juice, avocado oil, salt and pepper, and padron peppers.

Bread: Len Deighton's Mixed Wholemeal loaf from the Sunday Times Book of Bread: 3:1:1 wholemeal/strong white flour/mixture of medium oatmeal, medium cornmeal and bran, a little molasses, a dash of oil - v tasty.

(no subject)

Mar. 26th, 2017 12:30 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] robling_t!
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

Scarlett Thomas: Why I was wrong about children’s fiction.

I do see that she has come to realise that 'children's books: not the easy option',from trying to write one, because have we not, my dearios, seen an awful lot of celebs who think any fule can can write a kiddybook?

But, might we not also see in that article that she seems also to be coming round to the notion that fantasy is Not A Bad (or at least, a lesser, genre) Thing?

The two categories do seem to be somewhat assimilated, even conflated.

And I really don't think you get very far just by replacing one binary with another binary:

Instead of thinking there’s “literary fiction” and “everything else”, or even adult fiction and children’s fiction, I now believe that there are books with magic and without.

I don't think it's that simple, even if she's using 'magic' in its broader sense?

I think there are still some unexamined assumptions around canon and literary value going on there.

(no subject)

Mar. 25th, 2017 11:19 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] staranise!

Doesn't sound very close to me

Mar. 24th, 2017 09:16 pm
oursin: Hedgehog saying boggled hedgehog is boggled (Boggled hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

While I have quite oft remarked that, if you want to exercise regularly, it really helps if where you do it is easy to get to, and something that may not be the absolutely ideal thing but close at hand is more likely to actually get done on a relatively regularly basis than something that might be optimum but a faff to get to. (This probably applies to other things as well.)

But while this article more or less substantiates The Wisdom of the Hedjog in principle, I was a bit beswozzled by the travel distance cited - 3.7 miles - which does not strike me as what I would consider a walkable distance, at least if one's combining it (there and back) with a workout.

It's a different world. And I would like to know, are we talking public transport? or driving? to get there.

Reiterates anecdote of walking from where I was staying in Austin TX to Zilker Park, through entirely deserted streets, and found when I got there hordes of people who had driven there to walk, jog, etc.

Friday mystery object #300 answer

Mar. 24th, 2017 07:38 am
[syndicated profile] zygoma_feed

Posted by PaoloViscardi

Last Friday I gave you this new acquisition to have a go at identifying: When it arrived on my desk in an decorative box, with bundles of bone wrapped in blue tissue and tied with gold ribbon, it had a … Continue reading

A day that started far too early

Mar. 23rd, 2017 06:57 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Meedja people wanted to film an interview with me in Former Place Of Work: this was supposed to happen next Monday, and ended up being today, this morning, before the facilities open to the public. (Greatly tempted to send The Famous Shirt on its own to do the job.) They did lay on a car to take me there. There was not a great deal of faffing about before we got to the, you know, actual interviewing.

This went fairly well, though I always suspect meedja luvvies to rave insincerely: this may be unfair.

I was fairly knackered after this, but yesterday I had an email from someone who wanted to discuss matters of mutual research interest, and was going to be visiting the Library today, so I said, could do coffee, or lunch, and we had a fairly intense and wide-ranging discussion of research over an extended lunch.

And when I got back to my desk, there was an enquiry from Another Meedja Person about a thing they're researching which is one that has (according to me) already been Done to Death, and they were very vague about what sort of angle they might be taking. But I thought I should at least get in a reply politely indicating that It's Been Done.

And then I came home, fully intending to rest for a bit and then go out again to the gym, but could not bring myself to leave the house again.

But at least I think I have done a fair amount of communicating Mi Learninz to people at various different levels today.

(no subject)

Mar. 23rd, 2017 10:57 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] robot_mel!
[syndicated profile] thebrainscoop_feed


digitaldiscipline:

seananmcguire:

firesidetextiles:

Printed the first round of the bones pattern last night and I am delighted with the final result! I can’t wait to do the glow-in-the-dark ink round!

IT’S HAPPENING.

@thebrainscoop - this may be pertinent to your interests :-)

This is such a fantastic design!!!!!! i WANT TO WEAR IT ON MY BODY

oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished JA Jance, Cruel Intent, and am sufficiently prepossessed by the Ali Reynolds series to download the boxsets of the next three and a couple of novellas.

However, decided that perhaps I should take a little break and read something else, so I read Simon Brett, The Strangling on the Stage (2014), one of the Fethering mysteries, though I'm not sure one reads these for the actual, you know, mystery plot. This one had amdram luvvies.

Patricia Craig, Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading (2015) - charity shop find, about which I found myself a bit meh - it didn't seem to me to quite mesh the various elements, but that may have been me - even before the William Mayne apologism. I wanted perhaps more about the books themselves?

Robin Stevens, Jolly Foul Play (2016) from local indie bookshop sale shelf - I'm still not entirely sold on Hazel Wong - I feel there's a place somewhere between 'perpetuating Orientalist stereotypes' and having her be a standard 1930s boarding school girl who happens to be Chinese - but this did, I think, introduce some complexity in relationships and I think I shall be reading others in the series.

On the go

I am still very much enjoying the ongoing serial by Avoliot, The Course of Honour.

Still intermittently plugging on with the Inchbald bio - still not up to Wollstonecraft interactions.

The Dorothy Wrench bio is still very much backburnered - somehow I just slip off it whenever I pick it up.

Up next

No idea, find myself between books.

[syndicated profile] dougsarchaeology_feed

Posted by Doug Rocks-Macqueen

Twice a week I publish videos of presentations from conferences I help film. This week I have another session the EAA conference, this one on archives:

Session Abstract:

In this session we are exploring theoretical and methodological approaches to archive-based studies as well as the conceptualization and use(s) of archives. The importance of archives for archaeological research and field practice is undisputed in present-day archaeology. Nevertheless archival sources are often neglected and/or underused. Archives are essential for historians of archaeology, but at the same time they are also invaluable for the everyday practice of archaeologists. The process of archiving is one of the most important features of archaeology and it has had a great influence on the professionalization of the discipline. However, various archival aspects are often overlooked. For example, it has been common practice to separate documents and artifact collections when archiving when they should in fact be included in the archives together as equally important archaeological data. This greatly impacts anyone who studies the past of a particular site, biography of an archaeologist or the history of archaeology in general. In addition, the archive can work as a resource connecting the past, present and future of our discipline. Archives can also provide a starting point for research projects.
The starting point for this session is the broad definition of an archive: archaeological records including documents, finds and museum collections. We welcome papers from scholars working with historic as well as contemporary archival sources and we also encourage broad-based humanistic views and interdisciplinary perspectives on archives. By exploring the archive as a concept and by combining various types of archival materials, we can redefine the archive as a resource and gain a new perspective on archive-based research studies.

Author – Gustavsson, Anna, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Mihajlović, Vladimir, Institute for Balkan Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, Serbia
Co-author(s) – de Tomasi, Francesca, Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici, Naples, Italy
Keywords: archives, collections, history of archaeology

Renovating practices in the history of archaeology

https://youtu.be/46dzvUg6FQQ

Author – Prof. D az-Andreu, Margarita, ICREA, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (Presenting author)
Keywords: archives, history of archaeology, methodology, archives and archaeology

In the last two decades the history of archaeology has changed beyond recognition. Long gone are the days when a look at the past of the discipline was only undertaken on the basis of publications and anecdotal memories and limited to building an account of the main discoveries and events. The much wider variability of perspectives that historians of archaeology are employing today is also related to – and indeed in many cases requires – a change in the methods once used. Taking advantage of archives as a source of information is one of the main ways in which historians of archaeology have renovated their practice. However, their work is usually hindered by the fact that archaeologists are rarely trained for this. This may well, at least partially, explain the huge differences among those of us who search archives for information.
In this paper I will analyse my own experience of working in archives. I have been researching in archives on and off since 1995 and the experience gathered over the years has allowed me to refine several data compilation techniques. I have found that checking and cross-referencing the information I have gathered from archives over the years is one of the most challenging tasks I have faced. Interestingly, however, I soon realised that looking at archives was not only a question of new methods, but also of how questions were posed. Initial questions had to be revised to be able to use the considerable potential of the newly found documentation. In my own research on how politics influences archaeology I found that most of the time the answers were much more complex than expected. Working with correspondence, for example, allows researchers to get a much more intimate knowledge of the individuals under study than with any other method (with the exception of oral history, which is only possible for most recent events). However, this privileged position makes us aware that overarching ideologies are put into practice in banal ways that are sometimes not easy to detect. I will illustrate my talk with examples from my own work in the archives of correspondence relating to archaeologists such as Gordon Childe, Christopher Hawkes and Llu s Pericot.

Archaeological archives – A deconstruction

https://youtu.be/GL8cnrICnCI Author – Frydenberg, Hilde Sofie, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway (Presenting author)
Keywords: archaeological archives, archaeological processes, theory of science and methodology

In this paper, I propose a critical examination of the archaeological archive. Using my personal experience as an archaeologist working in the archives at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo as a point of departure and a case study, I intend to explore the concept of the archaeological archive from two different angles:
1. In archaeological research, archaeological contexts are always being interpreted with a conscious and reflective view on past research paradigms and history of science. Archaeological practice however, is very rarely subject to the same meta-archaeological scrutiny. Nevertheless, archaeological archives are historical artefacts with complex conditions of production, which, in the same way that archaeological artefacts can be read and interpreted as remnants from prehistory, can be read and interpreted, both as a historical source for the context and provenience of archaeological artefacts, as well as remnants of the theoretical and societal circumstances and conditions that have, in different ways, influenced the archaeological processes.
2. What has and has not been documented and kept in the archaeological archives is a product of changing paradigms and selective memory, whether conscious or unconscious. Even so, because of the destruction and displacement caused by an archaeological excavation, the original documentation is the closest we will ever get to the original situation, and archaeological archives, in general, will offer a description of how and why it came into being. From the point of view of research, an archaeological archive will also be the least biased source of information, as every re-interpretation from previous research adds a new layer of preconceptions.

Ontology of archaeological sources and the possibilities of archive – based research of Greek pottery

https://youtu.be/33alht7LlsI

Author – MA Miścicki, Wawrzyniec, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Kraków, Poland (Presenting author)
Keywords: archives, pottery of ancient Greece, theory of archaeology

In this paper I want to develop a very simple linear line of thought about the significance of the archives and archaeological documentation. In one of his papers James Deetz proposed that archaeological documentation, field reports and similar works should be treated as archaeography seeing that they stand in a similar relation to archaeology as ethnography does to ethnology. One could push this idea even further and claim that archaeography, description of the artifacts, and not the artifact itself is the source of archaeological research. During fieldworks artifacts are collected, measured, described and interpreted, and only the result of this process and not the excavated object could be called an archaeological source. Site and artifact documentation published in various reports and papers is then applied to other papers and the process is repeated indefinitely. Adopting this notion should switch scientific attention to the archives as they hold not only the aforementioned sources, but also artifacts-objects, and thus they provide the only context for reconstructing excavation process and reference point for the discourse. The nature of archaeological site allows full contact with the artifacts in its context, but as a price of being confined to the excavated area, so that the view upon explored culture or community is restricted only to the actual size of the site. Any additional information is obtained via archaeographical sources, which makes properly maintained archives one of the most important factors for conducting studies. In my paper I will explore this inductive nature of the research by presenting the possibilities enabled by the introduction of joined archives for Greek painted pottery. Focusing on their main features like standardization of documentation, accessibility and others I will discuss benefits and drawbacks of archive-based research.

Archives – Can You Dig It? Time, Materiality, and the Archaeology of Archives

https://youtu.be/6Rt-pxRv6Xk

Author – De Armond, Thea, Oakland, CA, United States of America (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Duray, Anne, Stanford University, Stanford, United States of America
Keywords: archives, history of archaeology, materiality

Archaeology and the archive occupy similar metaphorical space. Both are regularly invoked as specific modes of historical thinking (consider, e.g., Foucault 1969, Derrida 1995, Olivier 2008), not only for their cultural resonance but also for the particular practices that underlie both archaeological and archival work – preservation, organization, and so on. And recently, both have been portrayed as (more or less intentional) materializations of memory, as palimpsestic accretions, as memory practices (see, e.g., Lucas 2012, Shanks 2012). That archaeological practice quite literally entails the creation of an archive – that the archaeological process involves collecting, selecting, organizing, and preserving materials – will not be surprising to any of its practitioners. But, despite archaeologists’ familiarity with the archiving of archaeology – as well the acknowledged conceptual overlap between archaeology and the archive – practical considerations of what archaeology might bring to the archive have been relatively rare (Baird 2012). What is archaeology of the archive?
Following historians of science, Nathan Schlanger has argued that, “To reach the science in the making as much as the applauded result, to grasp the quotidian as much as the extraordinary, historians of archaeology need to turn to … the archives of the discipline” (2004: 166). Archives, more than published results contain the traces of scientific practices – of course, they are, at the same time, the traces of another set of practices. And so, historians of archaeology are in an exceedingly advantageous position to consider the conceptual overlap of archaeology and the archive.
In this paper, we ask what – beyond metaphor – archaeological practice might bring to archival work. We consider this question via two very different archives, the archive of the Nichoria excavations, housed at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens (ASCSA), and the personal archive of the Czech philologist and archaeologist Antonín Salač (1885–1960), housed at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (AVČR). The former compiles materials produced during the Nichoria excavations – field notebooks, end of season reports, photographs – in an “organized” typology; the latter contains a great mass of textual ephemera, essentially unprocessed – the residue of Salač’s life. What does it mean to approach these archives, archaeologically? What do considerations of materiality – concomitantly, of context, of temporality – bring to these archives? Recent conceptualizations of archives and archaeology as assemblages, as memory practices, are often attended by the idea that archaeology’s approach to the past is necessarily different from that of history – that history is sequential, perhaps, and that archaeology, because it is material, is multitemporal. But archives – the sources of “historical” work – are, themselves, material – and, so, they are also multitemporal. Ultimately, then, approaching our archives with specific reference to their materiality – their “archaeology” – we create histories of archaeology that destabilize boundaries between the “historical” and the “archaeological”.

Archive and Archaeological Economy

https://youtu.be/RTn2q4TnIWI

Author – Gomes, Sérgio, Porto, Portugal (Presenting author)
Keywords: archaeological economy, archive

The concept of the archive came to me at different moments whilst I was investigating archaeology under the Estado Novo dictatorship in Portugal (1933–1974). In this research, I experienced archives “as a source” and “as a subject”. They were “a source” in the sense that archives were the “places” where I could find the raw materials to develop my work. They were “a subject” because, in picking up and ordering documents, I was constructing a “landscape” through which I was setting a research path; a “landscape” offering me clues and suggesting directions I hadn’t envisaged at the outset. This experience, the way archives were questioning me, led me to read Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever (1998) to try to understand this experience. Derrida shows us the archive as a place of two principles: the principle of commencement, since the archive is the place of physical, historical or ontological origin; and the principle of commandment, because the archive is also the place from which laws are exercised. This made sense to me because I was experiencing archives both as a source and as a subject, a place of “origins” (of documents) and “laws” (to re-organize my research). But, more importantly, with Derrida’s notion of the archive, I realized how this experience of using archives in doing “history of archaeology” was so close to the experience of doing archaeology itself, and how Derrida’s work could be read while thinking about the conditions under which we do archaeology. This perspective on Derrida’s work became clearer after reading Gavin Lucas’ Understanding the Archaeological Record (2012) where Lucas argues archives can be discussed as a translation process based on the interaction between “the site” and “the copy” (ibid.: 237–239). In this paper, I aim to look in detail at the intertwining of Derrida and Lucas’ ideas, with a view to discussing the limits and possibilities of the ways we shape our “archaeological economy” (ibid.: 231).

Searching the archives in pursuit of ancient Cyrenaica

https://youtu.be/mYrsFMQNNh8

Author – Dr. Hab. Rekowska, Monika, Institute of Archaeology University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland (Presenting author)
Keywords: Cyrenaica, history of archaeology, socio-politics of archive records

Albeit Cyrenaica, being one of the prominent regions of the Greco-Roman civilization, attracted the attention of scholars from the medieval period onwards, its political isolation after the Arab and later, Ottoman conquest, gave reason to the visible delay in archaeological recognition of this area. Europeans could not visit it before the 18th century and, even in the 19th century, travels were still not numerous. Nevertheless, the travelers’ accounts, only partially published, constitute an invaluable source for the research on history of archaeology. They reflect the increasing knowledge of the region and, at the same time, they illustrate the archaeology in transition from its pre-scientific to the scientific stage. The first topographical identifications were successively complemented by descriptions of the undertaken excavations and considerations about the ancient art. The history of discovering Cyrenaica enables us to capture and follow significant stages in the evolution of archaeological interests, pursued by scholars active both on the sites and behind their desks. However, this story could not be fully understood if deprived of the broader, political and social perspectives. From the beginning of the 19th century, when archaeological activities ceased to be purely private ventures, public authorities used archaeological travels to achieve their own purposes, including non-scientific ones. On one hand, archaeology was served as a political tool to justify an expansion in North Africa and the Middle East, on the other hand – the results of archaeological exploration: artefacts enriching museum collections, testified the prestige of the state. This political context can be reconstructed thanks to the archive queries of unpublished documents kept in various state institutions, mainly in England and France. Since those documents reveal various undercover activities, their studies create an excellent starting point for further sociopolitical reflections not only on archaeology. The aim of this paper is to show several advantages of adopting different approaches to studying archive records in the British Museum and Musée du Louvre. Analysis of letters, notes about monuments, reports, minutes of the committee and other original papers allows making several observations concerning the development of archaeological methodologies. Apart from their obvious archaeological value, those documents allow also to reconstruct wider, political and social background of the journeys to Cyrenaica in the 18th and 19th centuries. Among the travellers, a special role was reserved for diplomats, for whom official activities created an opportunity to undertake their own research (e.g. Joseph Vattier de Bourville, George Dennis), and agents of the state institutions (e.g. Beechey brothers, Porcher and Smith). The support of the Admiralty or museums helped those travellers to fulfil both, scientific, as well as any other significant goals.

Archives Vs Archaeology: the case study of the building beneath Via di San Nicola de’ Cesarini, Rome

https://youtu.be/mh658TVqrr8

Author – Vladimir Mihajlovic
Keywords: Archaeology, Classical Archaeology, Ancient Topography, Topography of Ancient Rome, Ancient Rome, History of
Archaeology, Archives Data, Historical Archives, Roman Architecture, Campus Martius

In this paper, I will try to shed new light on the discovery of a building excavated during the 1920s and 1930s beneath Via di San Nicola de’ Cesarini, Rome, by means of both archival data and archaeological evidence. Surveying the historical archives of Rome (i.e., unpublished notes, drawings, tracings of brick stamps, and period photographs) allows for both a reconstruction of the appearance of the building at the moment of its discovery, as well as the dating of its phases. The old cadaster of the city, the Catasto Pio Gregoriano, and the Cabreo delle fognature della citt di Roma, a limitless collection of plans and drawings of the ancient and modern drainage system of the city, are also invaluable tools for the completion of this task. Thanks to this work, it will be possible to reconstruct the building in all its phases and to attempt an identification of it, drawing a new and up-to-date archaeological map in order to facilitate future work on the surrounding area.

Digging in Archives: Writing the Scientific Biography of Archaeologist Zsófia Torma

https://youtu.be/gVPw8aj64mY

Author – PhD Candidate Coltofean, Laura, Brukenthal National Museum, “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, Sibiu, Romania (Presenting author)
Keywords: archival materials, scientific biography, Zsófia Torma

Zsófia Torma (1832–1899) was a pioneering Hungarian archaeologist who had a significant contribution to the development of prehistoric archaeology in nineteenth-century Transylvania, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She is most notably known for her research conducted at the prehistoric settlement of Turda-Lunc (Hunedoara County, Romania) which is one of the most important archaeological sites in today’s Romania, as well as for the international academic network that she developed through her vast scientific correspondence with well-known scholars of the time, such as Archibald Henry Sayce, Francis Haverfield, Johannes Ranke, and Albert Voss. After Zsófia Torma’s death, her activity was underestimated and ignored by most Romanian and Hungarian archaeologists for almost a century. However, the systematic excavations conducted at the site of Turda-Lunc between 1992 and 1998, as well as the preventive ones in 2011, have revealed the necessity of re-evaluating her archaeological activity and writing her scientific biography.
This paper is a case study about the experience of working with archival sources in the process of writing Zsófia Torma’s scientific biography, within a complex research that has been undertaken during the past three years, in seven Central and Eastern European institutions. These institutions are as follows: The National Széchényi Library (Budapest, Hungary), The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Budapest, Hungary), The Hungarian National Museum (Budapest, Hungary), The National Archives of Hunedoara County (Deva, Romania), The National History Museum of Transylvania (Cluj-Napoca, Romania), The Brukenthal National Museum (Sibiu, Romania) and The Szekler National Museum (Sfântu Gheorghe, Romania). Overall, these institutions are the richest in archival materials concerning Zsófia Torma’s personal and scientific life. The first part of this paper aims to trace the differences and similarities between the archival materials from Romania and Hungary, by taking into consideration various aspects ranging from the content and relevance of the documents to their accessibility, way of preservation and even state of conservation. In addition to this, the second part of the paper focuses on the methodology employed in this research, as well as its main results and conclusions. Finally, the paper emphasizes the importance of archival materials in establishing Zsófia Torma’s place and role in the history of Hungarian, Romanian and European archaeology.

Archives and shipwrecks in the Baltic

https://youtu.be/0uMIfIiNfbw

Author – PhD Student Alvik, Riikka, The National Board of Antiquities, Helsinki, Finland (Presenting author)
Keywords: archives, maritime accidents, shipwrecks

The brackish waters of the Baltic hide thousands of shipwrecks from different eras. Most known wrecks of sailing vessels are from historical times and later than medieval. How can we compare and combine the sources from archives and archaeological data from shipwrecks to make their story complete and also scientifically valid?
Shipwrecked sailing vessels are often far away from their home harbor. Before becoming a shipwreck, a ship’s “life” can have several phases from building to re-building, re-use, abandonment or destruction by an accident or conflict. With shipwrecks, multidisciplinary research is needed to collect the data. When there is an idea of the port of origin of the find, there is a chance to start the research in archives. Sometimes an archival source – a document like an accident report or an announcement in the newspaper – leads to a systematic search for a possible place of wreckage. As archaeologists, we must learn to read both the material culture and archival sources, which possibly relate to each other. In this paper, two cases from Finnish waters will be presented, which have both archaeological findings and written sources associated with them.
The first case is that of a remarkable medieval maritime accident with quite a lot of written documents telling its story. The possible site of the accident is in the brackish waters of the Gulf of Finland. How might we interpret the scattered pieces of a wreck in the area, and how might we reconstruct the accident from the late 15th century? The other case is related to two shipwrecks of 18th-century merchant ships. Would it be possible to combine written documents, like toll and salvage records, to find a shipwreck? Is it possible to identify a shipwreck, and what methods should beused in the archaeological research process?

The relationship between archive documents and archaeological material of a naval conflict

https://youtu.be/kWu6rX2jTvI

Author – Mäkinen, Johanna, University of Helsinki, Sipoo, Finland (Presenting author)
Keywords: naval conflict, wreck sites, written documents

This research questions the role of archive documents in conflict archaeology. The second naval battle of Svensksund took place on 9 July 1790 on the south coast of Finland, outside the modern city of Kotka. The battle was part of the Russo-Swedish War (1788–1790), and it is the largest naval battle ever fought in Northern Europe. The focus of this research is the apparent contradiction between archival documents about the battle, and existing archaeological material. The general view, based on written sources, is that a large number of the vessels of Russia’s rowing fleet shipwrecked near Lehmäsaari Island, on the east side of the naval battle area, after being disadvantaged, partly due to weather conditions. However, only eight wreck sites have been located so far in the vicinity of Lehmäsaari Island. The small number of the wrecks has been explained by site formation – especially non- cultural – processes, but no comprehensive research has been published about this subject. The aim of this paper is to study this imbalanced relationship between archival documents and underwater archaeological material. The body of material interrogated consists of the archive – both primary and secondary sources – as well as archaeological material.

Analysing Archived Material to Unravel Wheelhouse Chronologies in the Western Isles, Scotland

https://youtu.be/KDl4v7eTt5o

Author – Dr. Krus, Anthony, University of Glasgow, East Kilbride, United Kingdom (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Brown, Lisa, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Co-author(s) – Goldberg, Martin, National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Keywords: Archival Analysis, Bayesian Chronological Modelling, Scottish Iron Age

The site of Bruthach a’Tuath on the Isle of Benbecula was investigated as part of rescue excavation which was undertaken in 1956 and 1957 in advance of the building of a Rocket Range in the Uists; the results of which were never published. In the 60 years since, the finds material and paper archive has found its way into the collections of a number of different institutions, including the National Museums Scotland, Kelvingrove Museum, Historic Environment Scotland, and the National Archives. Collation and analysis of this fragmented record has brought to light previously unrealised information about the excavated features, showing the presence of at least two wheelhouses and numerous related features.
Details for the excavated deposits were lacking, although the location of the artefacts and the date they were found was recorded on the finds boxes; consequently, a finds matrix formed the basis for interpreting the stratigraphy on site. A radiocarbon dating program was undertaken to identify the timing and sequence of activity related to the wheelhouses. Twenty-six radiocarbon measurements were taken from single-entities of wood charcoal, animal bone, human bone, and pottery residue. A Bayesian approach that considered stratigraphic contexts and feature formation processes was used to estimate the site chronology and sequence. Results demonstrate that activity occurred primarily in the 2nd–1st centuries BC. The chronological analyses have also helped identify ancient curation and provide evidence addressing if Iron Age activity may have been more extensive than the two dwellings. Further, this demonstrates the potential that artefacts in older archives have for producing new chronologies and for refining archaeological interpretations. Similar approaches could be taken to help maximise the potential of old archives that may be incomplete or not recorded according to modern standards.

The Aerofototeca Nazionale of Rome: a photographic archive for the study of Italian heritage

https://youtu.be/nQRCedr57ss

Author – Foa, Lisa, Roma, Italy (Presenting author)
Keywords: archive, aerial archaeology, Adamesteanu

Today, with the use of commercial drones, aerial pictures of archaeological sites and landscapes can be easily obtained and, thanks to more or less user-friendly software, easily processed – as it was recently discussed at the 2nd International Aerial Archaeology Conference that took place in Rome in February 2016 – and present-day records can be compared with “preeconomic boom” images to better understand what has changed in our landscapes and single sites.
Since its creation, the Aerofototeca Nazionale, based in Rome, has acquired several different collections of aerial photographs. Today it houses aerophotographic materials that date from the very end of the 19th century (e.g., the images taken by G. Boni during his excavations in the Roman Forum) to recent years. The core of the collections are the thousands of images taken by the Allied air forces while surveying war zones during WWII; despite their often precarious preservation state, those images depict several areas of the Italian Peninsula that look totally different today, due to the growth of urban areas and the development of infrastructures.
The Aerofototeca, founded in 1958, is a historical photographic archive of the ICCD – Istituto Centrale del Catalogo e Documentazione – part of the Italian Ministry of Culture (MiBACT). The archaeologist Dinu Adamesteanu was the first director of the Aerofototeca. He organized the first body of archival materials and designed the archive as an instrument for the collection, preservation, cataloguing and study of aerial photographic records. The Aerofototeca is an essential source for archaeological research and the safeguarding of our heritage. The author of this paper, during an 18-month internship at the Aerofototeca, followed by field research, worked on the rearrangement of a group of more than 4,000 slides, the so called “fondo Adamesteanu” (a focus on a selection of those slides was published on the periodical Archeologia Aerea VI, 2012). The aim of this paper is to show a few examples of the potential of this archive as a fundamental source for understanding the development of our fast-changing landscapes and as a tool for the safeguarding of Italian archaeological sites.
In particular, starting from the pioneering 1908 aerophotographic survey of a stretch of the Tiber River, some areas along the river will be analyzed on the basis of the materials available at the Aerofototeca, retracing phases of ancient and recent history of the landscape.

Endangered Archaeology in the Archives: utilizing historical aerial photography to assess heritage

https://youtu.be/00-fTTCFYvw

Author – Banks, Rebecca, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom (Presenting author)
Keywords: aerial photography, databases, heritage under threat

The Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project aims to locate, document and monitor archaeological sites and any damage to those sites in an online platform for the Middle East and North Africa region utilising remote sensing and networks of professionals. The threat to archaeological sites due to political and social upheaval in the MENA region has drawn much attention and is being effectively monitored remotely by a number of projects, but the more gradual threats to sites from development and agriculture over the last century are less well documented. Historical aerial imagery collections from the first half of the 20th century are a fantastic resource that has captured landscapes and sites before modern development, population increase and conflict drastically changed the region and accelerated heritage loss. The collections however are scattered between institutions and many are poorly documented. The paper will present how EAMENA with the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East (APAAME) has begun working with these collections to not only utilise a fantastic resource for the documentation of heritage, but to digitise and facilitate knowledge sharing of what these collections hold.

Another kind of archive: on the preservation of publications and born-digital material

https://youtu.be/ccbiUgfSrus

Author – O’Riordan, Emma Jane, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Osborne-Martin, Erin, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Keywords: archaeology, digital, publications

The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland has been publishing since 1792 and has produced the journal Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (PSAS) annually since 1851. These volumes provide a record of research excavations, rescue excavations, archaeological surveys, studies of objects, overviews of historical records, publication reviews and more. Physical copies of the Proceedings are sent every year to Fellows of the Society as well as to libraries and institutions across the world. In 2001, the Society began scanning our PSAS archive and since 2003, PDFs of papers more than a year old have been available to view freely online via the Archaeology Data Service (http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/psas/index.cfm); since 2011, users have downloaded PSAS articles more than 386,000 times. We also host the full text of our out-of-print monographs and Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports (SAIR) with the ADS. The sheer amount of archaeological knowledge that our publications represents makes it an indispensable resource for anyone studying the history of antiquarianism and archaeology in Scotland, as well as a treasure trove of detailed information on archaeological sites and artefacts. As these publications cover hundreds of years of research, thousands of different objects and sites and hundreds of authors, their single common link is often the Society itself. How can the Society best use its own heritage and archives to inform future work? One of the research projects of the Society is the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF). This free-to – use online resource (www.scottishheritagehub.com) summarises what the acknowledged experts in their fields – not only archaeologists but also those in related disciplines such as geosciences, environmental sciences, history and museums – thought about Scottish archaeological knowledge at the time of the first reports in 2012. The work is divided by time period and each period ‘panel’ made a series of recommendations for future research. Now, in 2016, the panels are beginning work on the next version of these reports. This will mean that the 2012 reports become, in effect, an archive themselves. One of the challenges moving forward will be to ensure that as the first set of questions posed are answered, that the archaeological information that led to them are not forgotten but archived so that in the future, contemporary trends and lines of thinking can be studied. It is planned that the new reports will contain links to more of the raw data and archives used in their creation and it is possible that many of these data and archives will be available online. However, the ability to view these will only be a useful addition if they are openly accessible. The Society has a privileged position from which to think about the long-term survival of our archaeological heritage as it has been around since 1780 and, as long as there Fellows with an interest in Scottish archaeology and history, will remain for the decades and centuries to come. How can we ensure that our rich history and archives will remain visible and relevant for as long as they are needed?


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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


Sensational find of chamber graves from the later part of the Viking Age at Fregerslev south of Hørning in Jutland in Denmark will hopefully witness to the ethos of the Viking warriors in the 10th century.

Fregerslev is a small settlement located a few km south of Hørning in the midst of Jutland near the town of Skanderborg. It lies down to a lake at an old crossing point. At the periphery of Hørning close to the road towards Fregerslev, a Viking burial ground was discovered in 2012, consisting of two inhumation graves and a tomb with two (or maybe three) chambers. While the two inhumation graves have been excavated, the chamber graves were left in situ for later excavation. However, intensive studies carried out using metal detectors as well as electromagnetic surveying left the archaeologists with tantalising glimpses of what might be a very rich picking ground for future excavations. Also, a magnificent headgear for a horse gave an inkling of what hopefully lies beneath. During the next years funding was sought while the find was kept hidden for fear of “night-owls”. Now, However, the time has come.

Read the rest of this article...

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