Answering the Big Questions

Peter Stone (Newcastle University, United Kingdom)


This theme represents the ambitious undertaking of addressing some of the most fundamental and important questions that archaeologists seek to answer about the past.  Submissions to this theme should take a critical and nuanced approach to the theories that we use to shape our understanding of past and present peoples.


Advent of Iron & Developments in Asian Societies

S. Rama Krishna Pisipaty (SCSVMV University, India)


Iron is still the major hard material in use in modern civilization. Generally, in history the (Early) Iron Age refers to mainly the first millennium BCE, no later than the first millennium CE however, the dates and context vary depending on the geographical region. It may be true that the advent and adoption of such hard material which available in most of the geographical zones provided an opportunity with other changes in society, including differing agricultural practices, religious beliefs and artistic styles. Such a major breakthrough in the history mankind, still is not in common conclusion in many areas.

Further, the term Megalithic does not refer to a period of time, but merely describes the use of large stones in structures which was a typical characteristic feature of Early Iron Age. The world’s megalithic sites are a source of controversial mystery to science.

There have been a call for and discussion about the recent discoveries from all corners of Asian region for some common conclusion related to – Environmental conditions, Settlement pattern, Technologies & industrial activities, Socio-cultural systems, Megalithic & eolith structures, Regional contracts, Trade & commerce, etc., developments in the different societies.


Funding Resources, Strategies and Opportunities

Peter F Biehl (SUNY Buffalo, United States of America); Claire Smith (Flinders University, Australia)


One of the big questions in archaeology concerns finding the funding to undertake research projects. Archaeology costs money. Many projects cannot be undertaken without funds to cover travel costs, to buy essential equipment or to pay specialists to undertake highly skilled technical tasks.

In times of economic downturn and reduced government budgets fundraising is an important source of support for archaeological works. Increasingly, in many countries the upper administration of universities, department chairs and museum directors are expected to become active fundraisers. It has been claimed that ‘Archaeology is the perfect discipline for fundraising’. Is this true? What about our ethics and codes of practice? What about heritage management services, parks and cultural heritage management? And most importantly, can we find new strategies and opportunities? Rather than trying to create just another laundry list with great ideas to choose from that will suit archaeologists the panel will explore where and how to identify potential sources of funding and discuss what motivates people to give and look at fundraising from the perspective of the donor in order to maximize success. Beside theoretical contributions on the ethics and methods of fundraising presentations of successful as well as unsuccessful case studies are welcome.