Committee on the Teaching and Training of Archaeologists: Round Table on Practical Skills Training in Archaeology at EAA Vilnius 2016

Report on Round Table TH3-01 at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the EAA in Vilnius, Lithuania


by Raimund Karl (chair, and Sarah Kerr (secretary,

The CTTA expresses its thanks to Prof Ian Ralston, who after 4 years of serving as the Committee’s secretary had to stand down, for his work for and support of the Committee.

The CTTA dedicated its annual RT at Vilnius to the issue of Practical Skills Training in Archaeology, mainly focussing on fieldwork training, with the intent to focus on reviewing the EAA’s Code of Practice for Fieldwork Training in the inter-conference period until EAA Maastricht 2017. Two papers were presented to start off discussions at the RT (which sadly overlapped with a very interesting session on archaeological field schools, with whose organisers we have established contact). In the first of these, Raimund Karl presented the results of a short survey conducted after EAA Glasgow 2015 among EAA members regarding awareness of and compliance with the EAA’s CoP for Fieldwork Training, which highlighted several issues of concern (see separate report). This was followed by a presentation by Marc Lodewijckx on practical skills training in Belgian archaeology.

In the following discussion, it was agreed that the year until EAA Maastricht 2017 would be used for a programme of work to further examine the issue of practical skills training and fieldwork training in archaeology using the possibilities offered by the new EAA website iMIS system, with the aim of discussing the outcome of this work programme at a session at Maastricht. The work programme for the 2016-2017 inter-conference period will focus on the following action points:

  • Establishing the range of practical skills training provision available in different European countries to identify transnational similarities and differences
  • Repeat the survey conducted in 2015-2016 with (hopefully) increased EAA member participation to get a statistically reliable overview of awareness and compliance with the EAA’s CoP for fieldwork training
  • Use the EAA’s new website to establish a repository of information on practical skills training in archaeology as a basis for discussions, including providing already existing standards and guidance like RPA’s for easy access
  • Use the EAA’s new website to create a discussion forum for debate between members about practical skills training issues
  • Develop good practice examples and, if appropriate, standards and guidance for practical skills training in European archaeology, ideally in collaboration with other EAA communities like the Committee on Professional Associations

In addition, it was decided to dedicate the CTTA’s annual RT at EAA Maastricht 2017 to the topic of mentoring (of students, junior and more experienced staff), with the aim of developing a comparable work programme for the inter-conference period between Maastricht and EAA Barcelona 2018.

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The “Working Parties’”-Round Table

Report on Round Table TH3-07 at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the EAA in Vilnius, Lithuania, from the Political Strategies Committee (PSC)

by Raimund Karl, Chair of the EAA Committee on the Teaching and Training of Archaeologists (, Sophie Hüglin, EAA Executive Board Member ( and Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond, Chair of the Political Strategies Committee (

Following discussions in our session at EAA Glasgow 2015, the PSC decided to use its 2016 Round Table as an opportunity to bring the various Committees and Working Parties of the EAA together in a pre-conference Round Table on Wednesday 31 August. The aim of the RT was to clarify the role Committees and Working Parties have in EAA and to develop strategies to strengthen their effectiveness and impact both within and outside EAA. For this purpose, we invited a number of representatives of Committees and Working Parties to present their experiences, and a number of EAA Executive Board members to present the Board’s ideas, wishes and activities to enable Committees and Working Parties to contribute even more than before to the EAA’s success.

The RT started with a presentation by Nurcan Yalman, who gave a summary of the Role of Committees and working parties in the EAA. Vincent Holyoak then spoke of the experiences of the EAA and EAC joint working group on farming, forestry and rural land management, highlighting its successes but also its occasional needs for greater support to achieve maximum impact, especially with political lobbying work. Doris Gutsmiedl-Schümann then presented the activities of the Archaeology and Gender in Europe Working Party (AGE), highlighting in particular its significant inter-conference activities. AGE would be happy, if the Wednesday afternoon – the day before the official start of the EAA Conference could become the designated time-slot for Working Party – and possible inter-Working Party – meetings. Mark Spanjer explored the activities of the Professional Associations Committee to work towards creating a network of professional associations of archaeologists within and outside EAA, with an aim of improving archaeological standards and professional ethics within the wider profession. EAA in this could act as an umbrella organisation and give out tasks to individuals or groups. This was followed by Annemarie Willems presentation of the recently founded Working Party on Integrating the Management of Archaeological Heritage and Tourism, which already has run several particularly popular and well-attended sessions at EAA conferences. The paper highlighted issues regarding session organisation and, particularly, session overlaps. For the young Working Party’s organisers it would have been helpful if EAA had provided them with more guidance in form of a “starter kit”. In a last-minute change to the advertised programme, Sylvie Kvĕtinova, the EAA administrator, presented a paper about the new iMIS system and the possibilities created through this for Committee and Working Party representatives to create online content and discussion opportunities to allow EAA communities to exchange ideas and continue to work closely with all interested members between conferences. Finally, Sophie Hüglin explained in her paper on EAA and politics the developing framework within EAA how its communities can operate, support each other, the Executive Board, and be supported by the Executive Board, in further improving and strengthening the work of EAA for archaeology and archaeologists. In this she referred closely to the “Framework for EAA Strategic Development” for the coming five years 2016-2021 (pdf accessible with member login:

The session was recorded on video and papers will be available to watch online soon. The discussion following these presentations focussed on 3 main points, with the following results, which have been brought to the Board’s attention as appropriate:

To improve communications between EAA communities (= Committees, Working Parties, Task Forces, etc.), a meeting of community representatives is planned for EAA Maastricht 2017. Aims will be to identify synergies between communities and possibly develop joint actions or sessions at future EAA conferences. An iMIS community for community representatives should be created to help with this. Pre-conference community ABMs may be useful for this purpose, too, allowing community representatives to attend other communities’ ABMs.

Communities should continue to inform the EAA Executive Board and membership of their activities, because it helps the Board recognising current interests of archaeologists. This should include reports for The European Archaeologist, but should go hand in hand with content production in each community’s respective section on the new EAA webpage via iMIS. Communities are available to the Executive Board as a pool of expertise to be utilised if required. On the other hand, the communities should also have a mechanism to put proposals to the Board for particular tasks of actions to be taken, e.g. to formulate press statements to be made by EAA on issues a community sees as urgent, timely or generally important.

Communities would like the EAA Executive Board to provide strategic direction, particularly if authority is to be delegated to the communities, as was discussed as one of the possibilities to strengthen the communities in EAA. While organic development of communities is welcomed by everyone, communities highlighted that more administrative support will be required. Communities may also need guidance what the Board needs or wants from them in terms of activity; a certain funding provision for activities of communities at the conference or in between conferences would be very welcome.

Following discussions with the Executive Board, a number of the recommendations and results of the Round Table will be implemented and strategic guidance developed for consultation before or at EAA Maastricht 2017.

For EAA Maastricht 2017, the Political Strategies Committee intends to devote its round table to develop a project of examining political parties’ plans for archaeology and heritage protection in the run-up to the 2019 European Elections. Following examples by Germany’s DGUF, we would like to work on summary guidance notes on the plans and manifesto commitments of European Parliamentary Parties and, where possible, national parties, as related to archaeology and heritage. This election commitment benchmarking exercise will hopefully allow those interested in archaeology and heritage to make well-informed choices in the European Elections.

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Petrification Processes in (Pre-)History

Report on Session TH1-02 at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the EAA in Vilnius, Lithuania

by Sophie Hüglin ( and Alexander Gramsch (

The EAA session TH1-02 “Petrification Processes in (Pre-)History” explored the concept of ‘petrification’ across periods and geographical regions: Ancient Egypt met Iberian stone stelae and clay figurines of the Mediterranean encountered high Alpine herder’s first cheese production. Transdisciplinary concepts like ‘petrification’ create new possibilities to observe processes, understand them as gestures, compare their underlying principles and find new ways to describe them independently of place and time. Earlier in the year a similar topic had been chosen for a Creative Workshop of the McCord Centre for Landscape at Newcastle University, which showed the transdisciplinary potential of this approach integrating subjects like Geochemistry, Anthropology and Philosophy.

Session organiser Sophie Hüglin introduced the topic visualising the concepts of petrification using landscape, time, communication and architecture as examples: a landscape can be petrified by draught as well as by deforestation or the building of stone walls; time is structured naturally by day and night, artificially by regular signals or intensely by a strict time table; communication in oral form is more fluid and ephemeral, than information in written or printed form; finally architecture becomes more permanent with increasing weight and hardness of the building material and foundation depth. Petrification processes affect rarely only one aspect of nature and culture, but tend to go hand in hand without clear cause and effect. The speakers had been asked to explore such phenomena in their field of expertise in relation to parallel or possibly opposing developments.

Co-organiser Alexander Gramsch explored petrification as one of many concepts of historical change in archaeology. The concept of petrification focuses on notions such as consolidation, stabilisation or classic style, referring to changes both in societies and material culture. Gramsch raised questions containing a number of pairs of opposites: Is a petrification process conservative or progressive? Is it induced by internal or external factors; does it happen accidentally or is it a deliberate choice by social actors? Is it an instant in a succession of distinct moments or a process within a process? Maybe it is not a point at all, but a vector – the direction of a process irrespective of cause, reason and intention.

The contributions, following a chronological order, started with Eric Biermann and the Linear Pottery Culture (LBK) around 5500 BC to 5000 BC. On the one hand, the LBK can be understood as one of the oldest examples of a petrified society. Standardisation is ubiquitous: with the very low number of vessel shapes, their uniform decoration, the stone tools, but also in architecture. On the other hand, also the archaeological typology and chronology is meanwhile petrified, emphasising phases of changes in pottery style that Biermann tried to challenge. The supposed crisis and breakdown at the end of the LBK period thus needs to be challenged, too, and should be set against the previous, more subtle processes of change and continuity.

Melanie Wasmuth presented with Ancient Egypt the classic example of a petrified civilization, renowned for its monumental architecture – pyramids, temples, and tombs – as well as for the stability of its kingship concept, and the continuity of artistic display. She suggested to differentiate between different connotative aspects of petrification: so pyramids made from stone in her system would be called an act of direct petrification, while objects made to (look like) stone would be indirect petrification. A script rendered in stone would be active petrification, while something preserved in stone would be passive petrification. In the Ancient Egyptian society a stark contrast can be observed between contexts aiming at imperishability – like the royal sphere – and others – like everyday life – in which the concept is irrelevant or perhaps even revoked. According to Wasmuth the preserved stone monuments and social concepts do not only dominate public presentation, but also could be responsible for a rather stereotype scholarly approach to ancient Egyptian societies and their remains in archaeology.

Marina Gallinaro demonstrated in her paper, written together with Alessandro Vanzetti, how anthropomorphic figurines span not only a long period of time –almost 30,000 years – but are also found all over the world, being abundant at times, scarce and even absent at others. The figurines have always attracted excessive attention and debate culminating in them being used to argue for a Mother Goddess cult. On the one hand, petrification can be applied to their materiality: they were made from different materials, which could account for part of the scarcity; at the same time material is not all, because soft stone can be less durable than hard wood or bone and preservation depends on the context. On the other hand, petrification can help to describe continuity or change in use contexts and styles or shapes. For example, according to Gallinaro’s and Vanzetti’s research, figurines from clay are more abundant in settlements than in cemeteries and caves; in phases of state formation like in Egypt, they observe a reduction in variety or standardisation of shape.

Marta Díaz-Guardamino explored the temporality of stone and its role in the Iberian late prehistoric communities through the analysis of their sculptural traditions. The western Iberian landscape is extraordinarily rich in stone stelae and statue-menhirs. They represent life-size petrified human bodies decorated with weapons and elements of dress and adornment. So far attention has focused on classification and cultural affiliation of the stelae and statue-menhirs based on iconography. Díaz-Guardamino pointed to their very nature as monuments, their persistence and property to fashion iconographic standardisation. In the long-term they crafted sculptural traditions and, ultimately, helped to socially reproduce the communities associated with them.

Kristian Kristiansen spoke about migration and the related processes of social and cultural change. He proclaims that the Third Science Revolution in archaeology – the application of scientific methods like analysis of aDNA and isotopes – will allow us to solve the old debate whether cultures changed through the movement of people or objects. Presenting new research on the actual movement of social groups from the North Pontic steppe regions to the southern Baltic coastal area he sketched a broad picture of cultural breakdown and renewal in the 3rd century BC and the consolidation of a new society, emerging out of immigrants and local actors.

Tanja Romankiewicz described Bronze Age timber roundhouses in northeast Scotland as reactive, shape-shifting architectures, responding to the activities and energies produced inside. By the Iron Age, external shape and form seem to have solidified. This demonstrates a development of architectural concepts through time and space, from organic and dissolved plans to more resolved layouts on the inside within apparently rigid structural shells on the outside. Romankiewicz also looked at the burning of houses, understanding it – against expectation – not as destruction, but as a deliberate process of charring and condensing to preserve structures. This became especially clear in the instances when these burnt houses where turned into a monument by covering them with a mound.

Stones came alive when Dimitrij Mlekuž called them the “bones of the landscape“ and spoke of the “agency of the inhuman.“ Bridging the nature-culture divide, citing Bruno Latour and Michel Foucault, he challenged human supremacy over nature. Mlekuž emphasised the possibilities and limitations karst landscapes and human structures such as track ways and stone walls imposed on human movement and action. He interprets social interaction as being stabilised by the use of durable material resources. Based on a case study from the karst regions of Slovenia, he explored the relations between the prehistoric landscape and social order. On the one hand inertia and long term stability seem inbuilt into such landscapes, but on the other hand he observed also change, resistance and creative improvisation.

Francesco Carrer and his colleagues study the functional connection between seasonal upland dairying and permanent structures. While evidence of human use of the high altitudes in the Alps is present already in the Neolithic, the earliest more permanent dry-stone structures occur in the Bronze Age around 2000 BC and seem to be connected with a transformation of resource exploitation. The analysis of prehistoric potsherds from Swiss sites provided the earliest evidence of high-altitude dairy production. Several parallel processes of petrification were going on which seemingly necessitated each other: the erection of permanent buildings, the use of ceramic vessels, and the transformation of milk – also by using salt – into durable cheese. Through this the mountain landscape itself and its perception with regard to the concept of possession must have changed tremendously.

The session was able to show the potential of concepts such as petrification to stimulate discussion within periods across object categories, but also across periods. It was lacking studies from the Roman, Medieval and Modern period, which would still yield a wealth of good examples. Abstract concepts like petrification embrace natural sciences and the humanities and have the potential create a common language between the disciplines. In this context agency is not limited to the human sphere, it can be with everything and everybody. Petrification is more than intentionally building a stone monument; it is a process embedded in a natural and social landscape that makes it very difficult, but maybe also unnecessary, to ask for the primary agent. While we cannot find an origin or originator, we easily can observe the direction of the process. Maybe we can even change it? A follow-up session is planned to explore the reverse process to ‘petrification’, which could be called ‘liquification’.

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All that Glitters is Not Gold: New Approaches to Sumptuous Burials between Western Europe and the Eurasian Steppe


Report on Session TH1-05 at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the EAA in Vilnius, Lithuania

by Manuel Fernández-Götz ( and James A. Johnson (

Ostentatious burials remain the primary means by which we understand socio-economic structures and elite/non-elite binary identity formations. Seemingly, such burials lend themselves to easier modes of quantification as well as qualification given their ‘obvious’ connections between numbers, types, and placement of grave goods as well as treatment and/or modification of the deceased individual’s body with status. In addition, the construction and use of large burial mounds (tumuli or kurgan in regional nomenclature) are also often taken at surface value as signalling elevated status and political importance among local and possibly regional communities, with the result being single (often anomalous) mounds being used to support ideas of regional systems of (possibly) institutionalized social inequalities.

The focus of this session was to consider alternative theoretical frameworks and methodologies that have great potential to tease out more nuanced information regarding the mortuary practices from Western Europe to the Eurasian steppe. Of particular interest were combinations of vibrant theoretical frameworks and robust methodologies, including analyses such as isotopic, metallographic, GIS-based, ceramic, and multivariate statistics to name only a few. Ultimately, the aim was not to necessarily overturn inferences regarding ostentatious burials and elite status. Rather we encourage more critical interrogation of how these formulations are arrived at and what new information can be gleaned from burials and burial mounds that have already been excavated and analysed.

After a brief introduction by the organisers, the session started off with a paper by Carola Metzner-Nebelsick (Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich) on the role of sumptuous burials of women in Bronze and Iron Age Europe. Caroline Trémeaud (UMR 8215 Trajectoires, Lyon) presented a new methodology for ranking funerary data from elite’s graves in north-alpine world in the time period from c. 1300-300 BC. In the following paper, Robert Schumann (University of Hamburg) and Sasja Van der Vaart-Verschoof (Leiden University) explored issues of performance in Early Iron Age sumptuous burials of the Low Countries, taking both a regional and an international perspective. The topic of elite multiple burials in Early Iron Age West-Central Europe was addressed by Bettina Arnold (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Manuel Fernández-Götz (University of Edinburgh), whereas the crucial role played textiles was highlighted by Johanna Banck-Burgess (Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, Esslingen) on the basis of examples from Early Iron Age southwest Germany, in particular the ‘princely’ grave of Hochdorf.

The second half of the session centred on the steppe regions of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, starting with a paper by Olga Scheglova (Institute for the History of the Material Culture, St. Petersburg) and Oleg Radush (Institute of Archaeology RAS, Moscow) on migration period elite burials in the forest-steppe of Eastern Europe. Claudia Chang and Perry Tourtellotte (Sweet Briar College) presented recent work on kurgans and settlements in southeast Kazakhstan, which includes new approaches for modelling changing social landscapes across the Silk route. The following paper by James A. Johnson (University of Copenhagen) focused on miniaturization of identity in the production of funerary aesthetics in the Pontic Iron Age. Finally, Maria Ochir-Goryaeva (Institute of Archaeology Tatarstan Academy of Sciences) provided a synthesis on Scythian kurgans in the Eurasian Steppes.

In addition to these papers, the session included three posters on the following topics: “Relative chronology and statistics of Bronze Age cemeteries in the Southern Urals”; “Origin of the polychrome style jewellery”; and “Breaking and making the ancestors. Making sense of the inconspicuous 99% of urnfield graves”.

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Transcending Borders in Later Prehistoric Europe


Report on Session TH6-05 at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the EAA in Vilnius, Lithuania


by Ian Armit (, Hrvoje Potrebica (, Matija Črešnar (, Philip Mason (, Lindsey Büster (

This session was organised by members of the HERA-funded Encounters and Transformations in Iron Age Europe (ENTRANS) Project, a collaboration between the UK, Slovenia and Croatia in the study of identity in later prehistoric Europe. The session fell under the Archaeology Without Borders theme of the conference, with fit well with the ethos of ENTRANS as an international collaborative project studying aspects of the Late Bronze Age/Iron Age transition in the East Alpine region – a region very much at the cross-roads of the Mediterranean and central European worlds at this time. After an introduction to the session and the ENTRANS Project by Lindsey Büster, the session (drawing on themes of ENTRANS, and of Archaeology Without Borders more generally) proceeded in a tripartite fashion, with papers focusing respectively on transcending chronological, geographical and traditional disciplinary boundaries.

The first session, focusing on challenging and transcending traditional chronological boundaries and horizons, began with a paper entitled Adieu Hallstatt! Adieu La Tène! Revisiting Old Ideas, in which John Collis renewed his plea for greater disentanglement of cultural and chronological nomenclature, and re-adoption of a seriation approach, as opposed to monolithic views of chronological (and cultural) change. This large-scale overview of chronology in later prehistoric Europe was followed by a more fine-grained approach in Derek Hamilton’s paper entitled Bringing Down the Wall or How Precise Independent Chronologies Facilitate Negotiation of Boundaries, which demonstrated the potential of Bayesian modelled radiocarbon dates to move beyond broad chronology/culture questions towards more nuanced understandings of the ways in which sites, landscapes and communities interacted with one another at a more local level. This was followed by the first of the contributions from the ENTRANS Project team, with a paper by Philip Mason entitled Strangers at the Feast? Elites, artefacts and exchange in the 1st millennium BC in SE Slovenia. This paper discussed the integration of new forms of elite expression in the Early Iron Age, particularly the use of exotic prestige goods, into existing Late Bronze Age mortuary and settlement contexts. We then moved west, with a paper by Fabio Saccoccio on Iron Age Interaction in the Po River Lowlands and in the Pre-Alps of the Western Veneto (Italy), which discussed the changing and fluid nature of cultural interaction in this region between the 10th and 4th centuries BC. The chronologically-themed papers were completed by another ENTRANS contribution by Hrvoje Potrebica and Borut Križ on Iron Age Burial Customs and Cultural Dynamics Between Eastern Alps and Southern Pannonia. This paper echoed to some extent that presented at the beginning of the session, in its unpicking of traditional culture/chronology categorisation of grave monuments and inventories on a broad scale (e.g. Urnfield, Hallstatt, La Tène) and a call for more detailed study of identity at the intra-site level.

The second sub-session, concerning transcending geographical boundaries, began with Loup Bernard’s paper on ArkeoGIS: A Multilingual Free Online Tool to Transcend Borders, which highlighted the commercial and research benefits of combining large digital datasets through his online collaborative initiative ArkeoGIS – software which is in its relative infancy but which has the potential to transform how we study not only later prehistoric Europe but which has infinite possibilities for other time periods and regions. This was followed by a paper entitled Crossing the Borders of the La Tène ‘World’ by Alzabeta Danielsova and Daniel Bursák, who examined deep-rooted connections between communities along traditional long-distance Adriatic, transalpine and Baltic trade routes. This was followed by consideration of places outside of the known world, which may have had been perceived even as mythical, in Stavros Oikonomidis’ paper, Exchanging rough materials between North and South of Europe at a time of transition, which discussed trade in amber from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. This was followed by a thought-provoking examination of patterns of Iron Age mobility as viewed variously through isotopic data and material culture by Alexis Gorgues, in his paper, Was there any border to cross? Mobility and Rejection of the Alien in the Iron Age. The penultimate paper in this part of the session was another ENTRANS contribution by Hrvoje Potrebica and Andrijana Pravidur who discussed Early/Late Iron Age Transition in Southern Pannonia – Crossroads of Identity, and particularly the strong links between the Iron Age sites of Kaptol in Croatia and Donja Dolina in Bosnia, as evidenced by similarities in grave good assemblages. This part of the session was completed by a beautifully-illustrated presentation on Textile Cultures of Iron Age Central and Mediterranean Europe: Breaking Down the Boundaries by Margarita Gleba, who demonstrated connections between Italy and the East Hallstatt world through the detailed analysis of this traditionally under-utilised resource.

The final part of the session aimed to present research which bridged the traditional disciplinary boundary between the arts and humanities disciplines, featuring a number of papers on current research being undertaken by the ENTRANS Project. The first of these was a paper by Ian Armit, Adrian Evans, Lindsey Büster and Katharina Becker on Digital Approaches to the Presentation and Analysis of Iron Age Art, which showcased some of the digital capture technologies being trialled by ENTRANS in the presentation and analysis of Iron Age art, whilst outlining the potential and pitfalls of the various techniques available. Next was a paper entitled ‘Beyond the grave’ with the help of multidetector computed tomography and micro-excavations, presented by Matija Črešnar, Fabio Cavalli, Manca Vinazza and Dario Innocenti as part of the Slovenian cohort of the ENTRANS team. This paper outlined new methods on the analysis of cremation graves and the important taphonomic considerations which need to be taken into account in any examination of associated funerary practices. This was followed by an analysis of the cremated remains themselves, with a paper on The Cremated Dead: Investigating Cremated Remains from the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age Transition, by Rebecca Nicholls, Hannah Koon and Jo Buckberry of the UK ENTRANS team. This thought-provoking paper complemented osteological analysis of frequently understudied cremated remains with more experiential consideration of the cremation process itself. This was followed by another ENTRANS contribution by Beatriz Bastos on Beyond the Vessel: Residue Analysis and the Understanding of Identity in Early Iron Age Europe, which discussed the use of organic residue analysis of vessels from settlement and funerary sites to understand the complex relationship between local and imported resources, and identities of the living and the dead. The session was completed by a paper by Daria Loznjak Dizdar, Sinisa Radović and Petra Rajić Šikanjić entitled Open-minded Access to Late Bronze Age Societies in Southern Carpathian Basin which returned to the topic of cremation, but discussed the central role played by animals in the communication of identity, and the importance of zooarchaeological analysis in any interpretation of this funerary practice.

The session organisers would like to thank all contributors for sharing their thought-provoking innovative approaches transcending and overcoming ingrained chronological, geographical and disciplinary boundaries within the archaeological research and very much look forward to future discussion and collaborations.


The session was organised as part of the ENTRANS Project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 291827. The project is financially supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme (, which is co-funded by AHRC, AKA, BMBF via PT-DLR, DASTI, ETAG, FCT, FNR, FNRS, FWF, FWO, HAZU, IRC, LMT, MHEST, NWO, NCN, RANNÍS, RCN, VR and The European Community FP7 2007-2013, under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities programme.

Members of the ENTRANS Project team at the Transcending Borders in Later Prehistoric Europe session in Vilnius (from left to right: Philip Mason, Ian Armit, Matija Črešnar, Lindsey Büster, Beatriz Bastos, Rebecca Nicholls and Hrvoje Potrebica) © Photo: Loup Bernard

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Successful partnerships: recognising and improving heritage management in landscape and rural land use policy and practice

Report on Roundtable TH2-01 at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the EAA in Vilnius, Lithuania

organised by John Raven (Historic Environment Scotland) and Karl Cordemans, chair of the working group (

The main topic of this round table, organised by the joint EAA and EAC Working Group on Farming, Forestry and Rural Land Management was to examine successful examples of interdisciplinary partnerships, where the heritage sector has successfully integrated heritage management with landscape and/or other rural land use aims, objectives and management.

Dr John Raven opened the floor with a short presentation of the Working Group and by introducing the outline of the Round Table to a numerous audience (i.e. about 40 interested listeners).

As first speaker, Ph.D. student Henry Webber (Bristol University) presented his research in a paper called “New approaches to engage farmers with buried archaeological heritage in the UK”. He started by pointing out why the farming community is such an important partner for archaeological heritage management: farmers are only 0.07% of the UK population but they manage 70% of the land area. Furthermore it’s difficult to speak of “the farmer”, since there are huge differences in scale, types of farming (i.e. arable, livestock), business diversity, equipment and practise etc. He then gave a short overview of how the archaeological heritage sector has engaged with farmers in the past, such as through stewardship schemes, and how farmers reacted to this. This lead Henry to the key-point of his presentation; namely precision farming, how it is applied and how farmers can take advantage of a more detailed knowledge of archaeological sites on their land. Farmers often gather soil data about nitrogen, potassium, etc., with remote sensing techniques to estimate yield and optimise fertilisation. These soil data are biased by the presence of archaeological features.  Consequently, if the location of archaeological features is known to farmers, their datasets will be more accurate and the outcome will be more reliable. In return farmers can take the presence of archaeological features into account and manage them in a more sustainable way. With such new approaches it may be possible to encourage more farmer, or ‘farm management’, engagement with buried archaeological heritage and promote more tangible understandings of cultural sites to the agricultural community. To conclude, Henry stressed that a tailored approach is quintessential, which can only be achieved by personal contact.

The second talk was delivered by Dr. Michael Ströbel from Saxony, Germany and was titled “Best-practice models for intensively used agricultural landscapes, examples from Baden–Württemberg and Saxony”.  In order to protect the rural archaeological heritage various strategies have been developed since 2000. In this paper Michael presented several best-practice models of managing monuments in intensively used agricultural landscapes. Over ten minutes, the audience was shown a whole scale of possible mechanisms that several Länder are experimenting with. This ranges from a more project like approach with eco-accounts, to set-aside for ecological purposes and highly biodiverse grassland. Even afforestation can be one option on more marginal farmland as the worst of all possible solutions, but sometimes better than intensive farming. Direct sowing hasn’t proved very popular with applicants, while it proves to be a good management practise. Since the conversion of highly productive arable into grassland in such a fertile loess-hill region is difficult, attempts have been made to develop production integrated measures that reconcile farming and the conservation of archaeological monuments. Precision farming applications are considered the solution which best meets this criteria. Specially adapted mapping, integrating fields and exclusion zones (monuments) can be implemented in GPS systems. When a tractor approaches an archaeological site, the driver is warned by an acoustic signal and the tillage depth is then automatically adjusted by the hydraulic control. The first tests are now taking place in a project funded by the European Innovation Partnership ‘Agricultural, Productivity and Sustainability’ (EIP-Agri). Finally, some states, districts and municipalities have more financial resources and are able to invest in the purchase of land that can then be converted into grassland. Michael finished his talk by remarking that in most cases the measures are temporary, depending on the willingness of different stake-holders and specific support programmes. Only the purchase of land ensures a sustainable protection of monuments.

The announced third presentation by Dr Amanda Chadburn was delivered by the head of her unit Dr Vince Holyoak (National Rural & Environmental Advice Government Advice, Historic England). He presented “Managing rural landscapes in southern England - two case studies”.

The first case was the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA); a 37.000 ha large area of rare calcareous grassland and the UK’s primary Army Training Estate (the only one where tanks can range freely). Following a series of damaging military training exercises in the 90s, it was agreed by all stakeholders to make an Integrated Land Management Plan, taking all needs into account. This approach was successful and is still in place. ILMPs were subsequently rolled out to other training estates in the UK.

The second case is the Stonehenge World Heritage Sites that covers 2,600 ha and includes 416 scheduled monuments. In 2002 a Special Countryside Stewardship Scheme was set up, converting 400 ha of arable back to pasture (equalling over 25% of cultivated land in the WHS), thus placing over 100 prehistoric monuments into positive management. Furthermore, 3 consecutive (2000, 2009 and 2015) WHS Management Plans were implemented, providing a long-term strategy to protect the WHS for present and future generations. The primary aim is to protect the Site (Property) by sustaining its Outstanding Universal Value, taking into account other interests such as tourism, farming, nature conservation, research, education and the local community. The general conclusion that could be drawn out of both cases is that Integrated Land Management is the way forward!

The presentations were concluded by Professor James Wright (American School of Classical Studies, Athens, Greece) with a talk about “Integrated Cultural Landscape Planning at Ancient Corinth, Greece”.

James presented an integrated collaborative master plan that has been developed between 2014 and 2016 to protect, preserve and present the 6km² area that encompasses all the natural and cultural components of the landscape of Ancient Corinth, Greece. These include mixed nature and heritage zones. Around 270 monuments from the 6th century BC through the 19th century are still visible for visitors. The goal of the integrated plan is to provide a sustainable infrastructure and administrative organisation for improving visitor appreciation by improving access to it. An essential part of the master planning process has been the involvement of members of the local population represented by all sectors (citizens, civic groups, civic officials, regional officials). The planning proposals are oriented to a long-term strategic plan that will seek public (Greek and EU government) and private (foundation and individual) funding. As a part of this endeavour the committee intends to submit proposals for Ancient Corinth to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They have come this far by putting lots of energy and time in communicating with local people and by slowly turning inhabitants into living stewards of their past.

To conclude the Round Table, participants discussed the best ways to take heritage management plans forward. No matter how good the plans are, the involvement and support of the local community is essential, and if we are talking about the management of archaeological heritage in agricultural land, that means that we have to get the support of the farming community. Different approaches were discussed. An important and rather easy way to tap into the farmers could be through agronomists who advise them on different aspects (but not yet heritage). An interesting case was shortly presented by Gemma Tully (Durham University) about the REFIT oppida landscapes project ( They interviewed hundreds of farmers in the framework of this European project and have had good results with this. It was also suggested that we should try to reach out to farming students, since they will be the farmers of the future and are presumably open and interested in new developments such as precision farming. A way to get them to be more interested could be to link past sustainable land management choices to present day management for instance. A follow up to interested farmers could be e-learning platforms and access to info via new media and apps. Finally, Ian Doyle (Heritage Council of Ireland) explained a bit more about the Burren project ( where ecology and archaeology go hand in hand in a locally adapted national scheme.

And with an army drumband on the back ground (that can happen when the conference room is right opposite to the presidential palace) we concluded a very interesting and successful round table on a topic that seems to attract more and more attention. New members were added to the working group emailing list. Other interested colleagues can also join us; just send an email to and we will add you to the list!).

All the presentations will be made available at the webpage of the working group on the EAA-website

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Working with many partners – a holistic approach to archaeological research and heritage management


Report on Round Table TH2-14 at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the EAA in Vilnius, Lithuania

by Tuija-Liisa Soininen (

The theme of the round table was archaeological research and heritage management as a holistic process. Ultimately, the issue was archaeology as part of the social fabric. The session was organised by the Pirkanmaa Provincial Museum, Tampere, Archaeology Scotland, Edinburgh, the University of Helsinki, and Ireland Heritage Council. The topic of discussion was a common predicament in archaeological research: when the focus is on an archaeological site but it has many stakeholders, each looking at the site from their own perspective. The round table was a follow-up from EAA Glasgow 2015, where the subject was Community-led heritage action. Now the purpose was to look deeper into the role of archaeology in society. We discussed various forms of participation and interaction on a broad front. Their common denominator for different views was the search for ways to promote the understanding of archaeology and its usefulness in society. 

Adopt a Monument programmes and their position in society was addressed in the presentations by Archaeology Scotland, Ireland Heritage Council and by the Chair in her opening speech.  The purpose of Adopt a Monument programmes is to delegate much of the intellectual ownership of cultural heritage sites to volunteers, who manage and study the site, make it more accessible to the public and also distribute information about the site via their networks. In this process, the authorities and professionals play the role of helpers, supporters and facilitators. In Finland, the basic principle is that cultural heritage maintenance is something that people do for others; it consists of concrete, tangible work that aims to promote accessibility and preserve cultural heritage, as well as to promote tolerance and inclusion. Although voluntariness is an integral aspect of the Adopt a Monument programme, freedom also implies responsibility. Research and management of the sites is always carried out within the framework of relevant legislation and officially approved management plans. One important and explicit aim of the Finnish programme is also that the work must give joy for the volunteers as well as others.

One of the challenges of Archaeology Scotland (Philip Richardson and Cara Jones) Adopt a Monument programme in recent years has been to reach non-traditional audiences. These are audiences which do not have a tradition of interest in the conservation of cultural heritage; rather, they feel disconnected from it, sometimes through choice, sometimes because of factors beyond their control. To address the issue, archaeologists have been working with the homeless (‘Digging the Scene’), with women who have fled domestic violence (‘Women at War’), and with vulnerable families. The work has resulted in the documentation of parts of the Old Town in Edinburgh and of a disused World War II airfield. In social terms, the programme has resulted in the establishment of psychologically safe ways to encounter other people in the context of cultural heritage conservation, as well as the acquisition of new personal skills and tools. For example, becoming a holder of a library card have inspired people to read newspapers or use the Internet. In contrast to the attitude of ‘sites first, people second’, which tends occasionally to be more prevalent among archaeologists, the projects are designed to give first priority to people and participants and only second to archaeology. The quality and sustainability of the projects should nevertheless be studied separately through a comprehensive long-term research. The experiences of Archaeology Scotland indicate that these projects have also produced useful archaeological results for the study of the history of Scotland.

The Irish Adopt a Monument programme by Ian Doyle was launched in 2015. The goal was to start with five sites, which was a resounding success: Ireland Heritage Council received nearly 90 applications from various communities to serve as stewards of sites. Just as in Scotland and Finland, the Adopt a Monument scheme in Ireland regards itself first and foremost as an expert, a helper and a facilitator. It helps communities to protect and restore cultural heritage as part of their everyday life. One of the observations of the Ireland Heritage Council is that, even if the main concern is the conservation of a particular site, it is nevertheless best to focus on finding a good adopting community instead of a good site. A motivated group of volunteers is much more relevant for the continuity of the programme. Another important observation is that although the programme needs continuous funding, it also needs a new culture of voluntary work. Such a culture can be nurtured when heritage professionals accept the role of facilitators, providing advice and training, but above all by evaluating results in terms of the process of cooperation and partnership.

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) aims to increase public interest in archaeological cultural heritage. Dr. Ben Thomas pointed out that AIA promotes not only popular understanding of archaeology, but also community-based outreach work. AIA’s special expertise is archaeology fairs that bring together professional archaeologists and communities interested in archaeology. The purpose of the fairs is to instil among the public the notion that archaeological discoveries are resources, and that they can be used for many purposes, not only to give us an idea of how people lived in the past, but also how we have arrived to the current situation, how we can plan for the future. It is good to see archaeological finds as resources that have all sorts of potential effects on the wellbeing of individuals and communities. Well-organised archaeological fairs can be seen as a carefully thought-out method to promote the societal significance of archaeology. The observed benefits of the fairs include the emergence of a wide range of collaborative processes and partnerships, extended exchange of data between professionals and amateurs, and the opening up for the public of the diversity and usefulness of archaeological information. The fairs are also a useful tool in that both in terms of their extent and themes they can be easily adapted for all sorts of purposes and operating environments.

Places of Memory and Forgetfulness, by Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland, MA Magdalena Majorek had a multitude of objectives. Through research and engagement with local residents, it sought to enhance awareness of history, cultural reality, social climate, local oral history, tradition and current local identity, and thereby to promote the conservation of cultural heritage. The chosen method was a multidisciplinary approach that combined anthropological, archaeological and historical research, coupled with information obtained from local residents, the residents’ own work to find information, evaluation of the quality of acquired information, and even the methods of artistic research. The study explored in depth the nature and value of information gained in the project. It also gave an idea of what kind of information one can expect to find about a specific place, and whether the value of the information can be determined on an evidentiary basis. It also produced information about the extent and relevance of information that may remain undiscovered by archaeological research or by research that relies on the oral history of a large community. For instance, landscape sites and associated traditions that are important for the community will be remembered for a long time, and can be classified as places of memory, whereas sites known or spoken about only by a few individuals, perhaps just one person, can be seen as places of forgetfulness.

A stone tool, dated to the palaeolithic age, was discovered 20 years ago in Finland in a cave called Susiluola (Wolf Cave). Excavations at the site revealed more finds, the nature and dating of which have remained controversial to this day. The case Susiluola has become a warning example about the role of archaeology in the making of a local tourist industry. MA Vesa Laulumaa, National Board of Antiquities told us how the Susiluola case attracted unprecedented media attention in Finland. As this was the first palaeolithic settlement in Scandinavia, it was speculated that the finds would create opportunities for a new kind of tourism, particularly from the perspective of local residents. Criticism of the case from the archaeological scientific community increased at the same time, however, expressing doubts about the findings and the scientific value of the site. The upshot was that material from the Susiluola remains contested to this day, potential funding bodies have disappeared, and only the locals are still convinced whole-heartedly of the importance of the results of the excavation. The site is no longer viable as a tourist attraction. The case was a scientific as well as complex communication challenge, which, judging by the outcome of the project, was a failure. The result was not a consensus among archaeologists on whether the Susiluola was a Palaeolithic dwelling site or not, but that any archaeologist mindful of her career would do best to steer clear of any investigations in the Susiluola. You could ask if an open and broader collaboration between the archaeological community, universities and the National Board of Antiquities may have produced a better results.

The objective of the Danish Escape project by Lene Høst-Madsen (Museum Skanderborg, Denmark), Nina Bangsbo Dissing (Muncipality of Skanderborg), Marianne Purup (Visit Skanderborg, Ry) is to generate energy and historical content and thereby to produce augmented reality for built-up regions where archaeological sites have disappeared. The project uses artistic methods to achieve this. Archaeological research data and stories told by locals lay the foundation for artistic work, which in turn promotes local communication. The concept makes the area interesting also for tourism and creates new processes that promote participation between the arts, archaeology, the past and the present. In the Skanderborg Museum’s experience the collaboration between art, archaeology and tourism created added value for all three. Collaboration should always be founded on shared hope, vision and mutual respect. One principle in projects like Escape that combine science with art and business is also that ‘archaeology is not an island’. Archaeology should not be done for archaeologists but for society. If archaeologists conduct research and work otherwise exclusively for archaeology as a discipline or for other archaeologists, they cannot expect to garner much understanding or material investment from the rest of society.

“Giving is having”, is a theory concerning the Viking and mediaval settlement in Tursiannotko in Finland and the co-operation around it. MA Ulla Lähdesmäki, Pirkanmaa Provincial museum told how the excavations conducted there have been one of the most prominent instances of archaeological investigation in recent years in Finland. The site has some special archaeological values; the artefacts are unique owing to the clayey soil that preserves organic elements. It is also strange how the site has attracted the attention among the public. The excavations seems to be a resource that has energised all cultural activities in the small municipality as well as exceptionally broad cooperation between various organisations. The Pirkanmaa Provincial Museum has partnered with the municipality, with whom it has made a cooperation agreement. The agreement includes excursions by school students to public excavations at the site and their participation in them. The cost is partly borne by the municipality. The collaboration includes training for guides, the organisation of a Viking Age exhibition, and the revival of a local museum to produce up-to-date information on local cultural heritage. Other partners include two universities, the local parish, metal detecting enthusiasts, a local Viking Market event, as well as local residents. The museum has welcomed everyone who is interested in Tursiannotko. For the moment at least, it seems that by giving room not only to archaeologists but also to others has the effect of increasing hugely the interest towards archaeology and making it easy to find funding for research.

Fig. 1. Pirkanmaa Provincial Museum organizes annual cultural environment camps as part of the Adopt a monument programme. In the photo camp participants are tarring the wall of the bakery at Voipaala manor. © Miia Hinnerichsen/Pirkanmaa Provincial Museum

Fig. 2. The round table started with several short presentations, that had the full attention of the participants. © Vadim Adel/ Pirkanmaa Provincial Museum

Fig. 3. Pirkanmaa Provincial Museum organizes annual cultural environment camps as part of the Adopt a monument programme. In the photo camp participants are girdling poplars and clearing undergrowth at the Iron Age cemetery at Rupakallio. © Miia Hinnerichsen/Pirkanmaa Provincial Museum’

More discussion

Inspired by the cases described above we discussed for instance, how do we know whether a specific activity will have a significant impact on the life of the target audience or on the conservation of cultural heritage in the long term? What is needed is research and long-term impact assessment, things for which projects seldom have the necessary resources. This is not an excuse for failing to carry out impact assessments, however, but rather a motive for creating interesting projects that focus on determining the links and impacts of archaeological activity on the well-being of communities and individuals and on the state of cultural heritage.

When planning new projects with direct effects on the public, the bringing together players from different sectors often gives rise to new and fresh forms of collaboration. It is in the interests of archaeology to see its role as part of a process which produces information that is relevant and useful for society. One issue that emerged in the discussion was the question of how the social function of archaeology differs from that of other cultural sectors. The general view was that the social role of archaeology gains in strength and acceptability when archaeologists work together with the public and are open to current needs of society. This does not need to detract from the social or scientific credibility of archaeological research, but it can have the effect of increasing the allocation of resources for research. Although society might still be generally unaware of the importance archaeological knowledge, it is important that archaeologists themselves understand that society and the social relevance of the discipline are extremely important to archaeology.

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Climate Change and Heritage: Impact and Strategies

Report on Session TH2-17 at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the EAA in Vilnius, Lithuania, and a joint EAA-SAA ‘Climate Change and Heritage’ initiative 

by Peter F. Biehl (, Caitlin Curtis, Eilen Dalen, Kristine Johansen, Eva Kars, Thomas H McGovern and Vibeke Vandrup Martens

This report summarizes a session organized by Peter F. Biehl, Caitlin Curtis, Eilen Dalen, Kristine Johansen, Eva Kars, and Vibeke Vandrup Martens in Vilnius entitled Climate Change and Heritage: Impact and Strategies. It also describes a new EAA-SAA initiative to create an international research network on Climate Change and Heritage with the objective to establish a new EAA Task Force on the topic in order to both formally connect to the SAA Committee on Climate Change Strategies and Archaeological Resources (chaired by Thomas H McGovern) and to tackle in joint efforts the threat of climate change to our archaeological heritage.

The session in Vilnius had eleven presentations, one poster and two discussion sessions, and brought together researchers from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, and the US discussing the impact of climate change. The case studies ranged from melting glaciers in the Arctic to the Alps and from managing coastal heritage, risk assessment and sustainability to impacts on in situ preservation and site management and renewable energy resources. Topics included in the discussion sessions ranged from the Valletta Treaty to the controversial issue of prioritization for the protection of heritage sites. But there was a common agreement that to ensure continued preservation, one needs to know what is currently preserved and to which degree; to which extent will changes in temperature, precipitation or sea levels effect continued preservation? If sites are threatened, we should have prepared strategies for how to deal with this, either to mitigate the effects or as tools to decide when in situ preservation is no longer an option and the only way to save a site is by excavation and digital documentation.

In order to better address these important questions and to continue the collaboration between the EAA and SAA the session participants agreed to formally propose to the EAA Executive Board to establish a EAA Task Force on Climate Change and Heritage and to organize a joint Roundtable with the SAA Committee on Climate Change Strategies and Archaeological Resources at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists in Maastricht. The proposed preliminary charge of the EAA Task Force is – similar to the charge of the SAA Committee – to (1) establish guidelines for an EAA Community on Climate Change and Heritage; (2) to monitor climate change as it relates to archaeology; (3) and to make recommendations to the EAA concerning ways to enhance the EAA’s effectiveness in addressing the multiple challenges posed by climate change to archaeological heritage.

It is also planned to hold a follow-up session/forum jointly organized by the EAA and SAA at the next SAA conference in April 2018 in Washington DC. This double-roundtable/forum continues the EAA-SAA initiatives to explore the various experiences in Europe and North America to better understand where we are today, and where we hope to be in the near future. As has been written in the TEA in 2011 “we [continue to] believe that a comparison between various parts of Europe and the Americas is beneficial. This concept is, in our opinion, so valuable that we hope it becomes a regular event at future EAA and SAA meetings”. For any inquiries about this new initiative, please email Peter Biehl

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