The Future: New Perspectives on the Past

Jordan Ralph (Flinders University, Australia); Kylie Lower (Ironbridge Institute, University of Birmingham); Khawla Goussous (Friends of Archeology/ Ahhliyyah School for Girls, Jordan)


This theme is designed to both highlight innovative uses of method and theory in archaeology and also to highlight new voices in archaeology. As such, students and established archaeologists are encouraged to submit contributions for the “Archaeology as the Future” theme. A primary goal of this theme is to promote cross-regional and international networking between scholars around the world that have different academic and cultural backgrounds.  Another goal is to promote problem-solving on a variety of archaeological issues. “The Future” is an ideal theme to host forum and workshop sessions. Cross-disciplinary sessions and papers are also encouraged.

Proposed sessions that include a majority of student participants can include time for constructive feedback and provide an opportunity (within an accommodating atmosphere) for students to present/express their own ideas and thoughts regarding the various aspects of archaeology within their own country and internationally. Sessions that may lead to future opportunities for collaboration such as international fieldwork, study, or publishing are encouraged in this theme. Lastly, contributions can include sessions and papers that speak to where they see the future of archaeology as a discipline.

Possible topics:

  • Opportunities for international travel and fieldwork
  • Future archaeological projects
  • Innovative practices from a particular country or region
  • Conflicting worldviews and value systems across cultures
  • How archaeology relates to other disciplines


Machaerus: Archaeological Excavations and Surveys of the Hungarian Academy of Arts in Jordan (2009-2012)

Gyozo Voros (Hungarian Academy of Arts, Hungary)


Machaerus, the Herodian fortified royal palace, overlooking the Dead Sea in Transjordan, is the historical place, where, according to Flavius Josephus (AJ XVIII 5, 2), one of the holiest men of his era, was imprisoned and executed by the Tetrarch Herod Antipas nearly 2000 years ago.

The Hungarian Academy of Arts in collaboration with the Jordanian Department of Antiquities has conducted archaeological excavations and architectural surveys in the ancient Royal Palace and City of Machaerus since 2009. The Director of the Machaerus Project is summarizing the results of the last four years of field work.

Regarding our architectural surveys, the most important fruits of our investigations were the determination of the three historical periods of Machaerus city, as well as the detailed analysis of the architectural space development of the buildings – individually, and in the context of building-complexes – and the preparation of their theoretical reconstructions. Beside detailed building-diagnostic and archaeological-stratigraphical field- and wall-examinations of the monuments, our research method followed that of so-called comparative archaeological and architectural inspection.


Students as Contributors, Collaborators, Scholars

Kate Ellenberger, (Binghamton University, United States of America); Jacqueline Matthews, (University of Queensland, Australia)


Graduate and undergraduate students’ work in archaeology is often seen as paving the way for their careers, or assisting those of their academic advisors. Their roles in research are that of partial professionals who straddle the line between novice and expert, and their contributions to the discipline are often less visible than their more established counterparts. In this session, we bring together students and those who work with students to discuss the contributions, dilemmas, and ethical responsibilities of students in the research process. This session is run by members of the WAC student committee and as such seeks to further the aims of that committee by providing more insight on the role of undergraduate and graduate students in archaeological scholarship, to encourage collaboration amongst students, and to foster the future of student development in archaeology.

Potential topics to be discussed may include:

  • Student engagement with addressing inequalities, ethical dilemmas and professional codes in archaeological practice
  • Obstacles faced by students working with other stakeholders
  • How student collaboration across broad geographical scales can be encouraged and strengthened
  • The development of strategies to build a stronger student community to support collaboration across broad geographic scales


The Archaeology of Mining Landscapes: past, present, future

Catherine J. Frieman, (Australian National University, Australia); Hannah Friedman, (Texas Tech University, USA);Sally K. May, (Australian National University, Australia)


Mines and mining communities lie at the centre of a number of different strands of archaeological research. Ancient mines give us insights into past people’s technological development, exchange networks and social structure. Historic and contemporary mines and mining landscapes shed light on the birth and development of the modern world system; allow us to examine the migration of miners, their families and communities, as well as the rapid industrialisation of previously rural areas; and have even been sites of protest and conflict.

There is, as yet, no broader framework for assessing the archaeology of mines and the heritage of mining communities. Even as we recognize the significance these industrial landscapes can represent, modern development presents challenges to its preservation and interpretation. Furthermore, the archaeology of mines is both expensive and dangerous, especially at subterranean levels. Papers are invited which bridge these gaps and offer new ways of understanding the complex archaeology, historical and political context, and heritage function of mines, mining landscapes, mining communities and the industrial extraction of raw materials in any region of the world in the past, the present and the future.


Interfacing the future: The Lesbos Project as a case study in international and interdisciplinary collaboration on inter-cultural/geographical/temporal investigations

Annette T Teffeteller (Concordia University, Canada); Alexander A Dale (New York University)


The Hittite documents provide compelling indications that Lesbos was a Greek possession already in the 15th century BC and, although contested in the early period, Greek control of the island was evidently essentially uninterrupted down to the Archaic Age and beyond. And yet the archaeological evidence indicates that Lesbos was thoroughly Anatolian in culture throughout these periods. An international team of archaeologists, epigraphists, historians, and philologists is examining all types of available evidence pertaining to Lesbos from the mid-second millennium down to the Archaic period, with an emphasis on the unique position of the island between Anatolia and Greece, in geographical terms obviously but, more importantly, in terms of cultural and political alignments. In sum, the island’s literary history indicates a Greek heritage, while the material evidence suggests an Anatolian heritage. It is the documentary evidence preserved in the Hittite archives that allows us to synthesize these conflicting indications and see Lesbos in its fully integrated position between East and West, providing an instance of one country/culture’s history illuminating another’s prehistory. This ongoing study, which will be reported on in this session, attests to the value of international and interdisciplinary collaboration on investigations which span cultural, geographical, and temporal boundaries.


Senses with senses: the sensorial archaeology

Jose Roberto Pellini (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil); Andres Zarankin (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil); Pedro Paulo Funari (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil)


What is the function of this entire material world that we create every day? Is its function is to be described or be experienced in many different ways? If we create a material world to be skilled, why does our archaeological practice focus on observation and not the experience of objects and sites? As archaeologists, we are used to describing, drawing, photographing, reading and writing. All our scientific practice is purely visual. But what about the other senses? Ethnographic, historical and anthropological studies have shown that sensory perception is a cultural construct, the meanings that individuals attribute to the sensory aspects are based on sensory models adopted socially. We learn to see, hear and feel. The material culture embodies and expresses the sensorial models of a given society, not only in their production, through the values and sensory skills involved in it, but also in the sensory qualities that objects have once finished. Thus, just given attention to the visual aspect of our practice would we not be incurring an interpretative error? In this symposium we intend to discuss the relationship between material culture, the body, and the senses through approaches that are centered on the senses as a whole and not just in vision.


Archaeology at the margins: arid landscapes and peripheral regions

Yorke M. Rowan, (The University of Chicago, United States of America); Jaimie L. Lovell, (The University of Sydney, Australia)


“No desert has always been empty of mankind, or without relevance to the lands about it” (Helms 1982).

This session explores the importance of the arid region as an economic and spiritual wellspring. Largely unexamined and underestimated, marginal zones formed an essential component to interregional networks throughout prehistory and historical periods. In the prehistory of Southwest Asia, these regions traditionally received less attention than the core areas of early domestication and settlement. Participants in this session will explore the role of environmental and social factors in shaping the lives and economy of people living and moving through marginal and peripheral regions. We are particularly interested in papers striving to examine both environmental and social dimensions of change. Our own research stems particularly from the late prehistoric periods in Jordan. Here, desert-adapted pastoralists exploited these arid lands, perhaps as part of the large scale population expansion during late prehistory. The session seeks to develop a theoretically grounded, comparative understanding of the societies occupying and traversing the vast marginal arid zones of the Near East during the 7th to 4th millennia BC. As such we would love to receive papers from those who study similar problems in other parts of the globe.


Archaeology of earthworks in tropical forest environments: global prospects

Gérard L. Chouin, (Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique, Nigeria); Kolawole Adekola, (University of Ibadan, Nigeria); David Aremu, (University of Ibadan, Nigeria); Caleb Folorunso, (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)


Recent and on-going researches in the West African forest belt suggest a process of urbanization beginning in the first millennium CE. This process was characterized by the building of extensive and monumental earthworks associated to settlements as well as large expanses of land. By the 14th century CE, this early network of well-established settlements seems to have suffered from a sudden, large-scale abandonment, hypothetically as a result of the demographic and social impact of the Black Death pandemics. The study of these earthworks offers theoretical as well as methodological challenges to archaeologists and colleagues in related fields of study. From a theoretical perspective, it challenges the assumption that the forested environment is not conducive for the development of large-scale, complex societies. Paradoxically, although massive, these sites are poorly visible in the landscape, calling for the development and use of remote-sensing or alternative methods appropriate for an environment covered with thick brush and foliage.

Similar processes seem to have occurred in other tropical forested environments in Africa, as well as in America and Asia. Organizers of this session wish to invite scholars from different disciplines to exchange ideas as well as practical experiences.


Archeology of war: methods, analysis and tools

Marcin A. Czarnowicz, (Jagiellonian University, Poland); Agnieszka Ochał- Czarnowicz, (Jagiellonian University, Poland); Adisa Ogunfolakan, (A.G. Leventis Musem of Natural History, Obafemi Awolowo University)


War is present in the history of the humankind from the very beginning. It has been an important part of the life of many cultures and now, in the XXI century, there are still regions of the world where whole generations don’t know the meaning of the world peace.

Early XXI century archaeology, as a science, developed the instruments to investigate the human past. The time for an archeology of war came after World War II, and although it covers so many tasks, included research on mass graves, field fortifications, plane crash landing areas, battlefields. The archaeology of war is still at the periphery of the interest of many archaeological research centers. However, especially in Europe, archaeological sites are very often disturbed by material deeply connected with war. That issues a new challenge to archaeological methodology – how to work with such remains, how to investigate them to get as much information as it is possible.

The aim of the workshop is to raise a platform to exchange the ideas and approaches to methodology between archaeologists from various regions of the world.


Current research & debates in the archaeology of human origins, adaptations and evolution

Parth R. Chauhan, (Indiana University, USA)


This session highlights research advances in Old World paleoanthropology from a multidisciplinary perspective. Along with critical reviews of data from lesser-known regions, the presentation of new data as well as theoretical perspectives from well-known regions, are also encouraged. The thematic scope of papers ranges from landscape geoarchaeology, technological and experimental studies on stone tools, biological perspectives, ecological adaptations and regional dispersals, among others, Based on the various presentations and current research trends, it is hoped and expected that the participants and session attendees will engage in a dialogue to address current debates, controversies and ambiguous hypotheses. Using both published and new data, participants in this session are encouraged to summarize the current status of paleoanthropological research in their respective study areas to address key issues in human evolutionary studies today. The lack of certain types of research avenues and the geographic role of under-studied regions will also be highlighted to encourage the new generations of paleoanthropologists to take up important and necessary research projects. Participants can also propose potential methodological and theoretical solutions to long-standing issues and interpretative problems. This session will bring together different types of specialists to discuss how we can move forward smoothly in the right direction.