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Keynote lectures

  • Cornelius Holtorf: Post-corona Archaeology: Creating a New Normal?
  • Rebecca Jones: What divides us also connects us: Roman Frontiers, World Heritage and collaboration
  • Carl Knappett: Networking, fast and slow
  • Marie-Louise Sorensen: The reductive tendency of language.  The challenge of treating social relations as a cartographic phenomenon; reflections from/on the Bronze Age
  • Anna Szécsényi-Nagy: Prehistory of the Carpathian Basin from the perspective of archaeogenetics
  • Maria Wunderlich: An orchestra of meanings – Is it possible to understand the multilayered character of past human social organization?

Post-corona Archaeology: Creating a New Normal?

By Cornelius Holtorf

When: Tuesday 25 Aug - ca. 19:00 - 19:30 (part of Opening Ceremony)
In this lecture I review covid 19 and its impact from the perspective of professional archaeology. I will suggest some lessons of the current crisis for a post-corona archaeology in Europe and beyond.


Cornelius Holtorf is Professor of Archaeology and holds the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures at Linnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden. He also directs GRASCA, the Graduate School in Contract Archaeology. He has been a member of the EAA since 1994.

What divides us also connects us: Roman Frontiers, World Heritage and collaboration

by Rebecca H Jones

When: Saturday 29 Aug - 18:30 - 19:30

Roman Frontiers (Limes) run through several countries across Europe, the Near East and North Africa. In addition to those territories on the boundaries of the Empire, Roman military remains and artefacts are recorded in other countries, reflecting the development, expansion and contraction of the Roman Empire as well as trade within and beyond its borders.

Since the early 2000s, a project has been on-going to create a series of transnational World Heritage properties for the Frontiers of the Roman Empire, building on existing networking connections established through the International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies and establishing new collaborations and partnerships, from local to international.

In recognising the outstanding value to all humanity of our shared cultural heritage, the Limes provide us with an opportunity to connect communities and countries, as well as engender a sense of local pride in the global importance of remains. At a time when we are wrestling with global challenges such as Climate Change and the Covid19 pandemic, how can World Heritage and Roman Frontiers contribute to our 21st century society?


Rebecca H Jones is Head of Archaeology and World Heritage at Historic Environment Scotland, the lead public body set up to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s Historic Environment. She studied at the Universities of Newcastle and Glasgow, completing her PhD at Glasgow on Roman camps in Scotland. She also worked for the University of Wales as a researcher on Roman camps and roads in Wales and has recently been appointed as a Visiting Professor at Heriot-Watt University. Her book on Roman Camps in Britain was awarded ‘Book of the Year’ at the Current Archaeology awards in 2013.

Her research interests focus on the Roman campaigns and occupations north of Hadrian’s Wall, and making archaeology more accessible. She was part of the European Union funded Frontiers of the Roman Empire (FRE) project (2005-8) and led the mapping for the successful nomination of the Antonine Wall as part of the FRE World Heritage property. She is on the Inter-governmental Committee that manages the World Heritage property as well as its expert advisory ‘Bratislava Group’. She is co-Chair of the International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies and led the development of Scotland’s first national Archaeology Strategy, launched at the EAA in Glasgow in 2015.

Networking, fast and slow

by Carl Knappett

When: Thursday 27 Aug - 18:30 - 19:30

A networking world is one of scale. Massive networks can be quick to form but also quick to break down. Networks can also be intimate (and even conspiratorial); and such networks can be slow to form and to break down. Networks as big and fast, vs small and slow. In archaeological research, it is arguably the former version that is to the fore, with network approaches generally associated with network science, models, and big data. However, I argue here that this perception is not founded on an accurate characterisation of what network archaeology has to offer; and that network thinking can be fruitfully brought to bear on the small-scale and the contextual, while offering insights on wider structures. I discuss a range of recent archaeological studies that demonstrate this flexibility and show how network archaeology is meeting the challenge of bridge-building between deep theory and tangible evidence.


Carl Knappett holds the Walter Graham/ Homer Thompson Chair in Aegean Prehistory at the University of Toronto, where he also directs the Mediterranean Archaeology Collaborative Specialization ( He specializes in Minoan pottery, material culture theory, and network approaches in archaeology. His books include 'An Archaeology of Interaction: Network Perspectives on Material Culture and Society' (2011); 'Network Analysis in Archaeology: New Approaches to Regional Interaction' (2013, editor); and 'Maritime Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean World' (2018, coedited with Justin Leidwanger).

The reductive tendency of language. The challenge of treating social relations as a cartographic phenomenon; reflections from/on the Bronze Age

by Marie Louise Stig Sørensen

When: Friday 28 Aug - 13:00 - 14:00

We are in the middle of a unique experience of social networks being recast in response to crisis. We have been forced to define and manage our ‘networks’, categorising them as households, family, circles of friends, work relations, and even the random overlaps with strangers. In the process, the concept of networks has come into sharp relief. In this paper, my concern is that ‘networking’ is not simply a descriptive term but also an interpretative one; and the terms should be used with awareness of its implications. I am especially interested in how we embrace the diversity of networks - how do we incorporate a range that goes from networks as being small scale and socially intimate to networks based on mechanisms through which cultural groups develop and are maintained?

Inspired by the challenge that have arisen from the decolonising debate, concerns about appropriation, and arguments for reframing, I ask whether we are imposing networks on past communities. Taking the social need for interaction as a given, we must question the pre-understandings and expectations about rationales embedded within the idea of ‘network’ when applied to the past.

My reflections will be grounded in reflections on the Bronze Age, and especially the Bronze Age tell at Százhalombatta-Földvár, Hungary.


Marie Louise Stig Sørensen is Professor of European Prehistory and Heritage Studies at the University of Cambridge. Originally trained in Aarhus, Denmark, and at Cambridge, her archaeological work has focused on the Bronze Age and various aspects of archaeological theory, especially gender. She has also worked within the field of Heritage Studies and has coordinated an MPhil program dedicated to this since 1990. One of the themes underwriting her work is the link between material culture and identify formation, and she has explored this with reference to the performative aspects of, respectively, Bronze Age dress and contemporary memorialisation practices and monuments. Her interest in materiality/material culture is reflected in the volume (with Bender Jørgensen and Sofaer) ‘Creativity in the Bronze Age. Understanding Innovation in Pottery, Textile, and Metalwork Production’. She has been involved with the excavation of the Bronze Age tell in Százhalombatta-Földvár, Hungary since 2000, and is also directing a project on early colonial expansion in Cape Verde (with C. Evans).

Prehistory of the Carpathian Basin from the perspective of archaeogenetics

by Anna Szécsényi-Nagy

When: Wednesday 26 Aug - 18:30 - 19:30

This talk is about prehistoric population history based on the current state of archaeogenetic research of the Carpathian Basin. The research of ancient human DNA is closely related to several co-disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology, demography and many subfields of genetics (e.g. population genetic, evolutionary genetic, forensic sciences). It has exponential grown over the last decade as whole genome or genome-wide DNA sequencing has become available.

I present results of international archaeogenetic projects, large collaborations that have aimed to study and reveal population changes or population dynamic events behind the archaeological cultural changes of the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age epochs of the Carpathian Basin. The study region as a cultural hub of East-Central Europe was connected through many ways to remote regions and populations, but also served as a melting-pot for people of different origins. These connections and admixture events are discussed here, using the records of ancient human DNA.


Anna Szécsényi-Nagy is a senior research fellow of the ancient DNA laboratory of the Institute of Archaeology in the Research Centre for the Humanities in Budapest. She obtained MSc in Biology and MSc in Archaeology from Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest. With a doctoral thesis focusing on pioneering archaeogenetic research of the prehistoric Carpathian Basin she earned the Dr. rer. nat. degree from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in 2015. Since 2014 she has been working in the Institute of Archaeology where she joined the genetic research of the early medieval populations e.g. Avars and ancient Hungarians as well. Currently as a co-leader of the lab she guides and manages several interdisciplinary and international projects and supervises students of the ELTE University. Her research focuses embrace human population genetics of various periods of the Carpathian Basin, including prehistoric, historic and even modern genomic research of the region.

An orchestra of meanings – Is it possible to understand the multilayered character of past human social organization?

by Maria Wunderlich

When: Sunday 30 Aug - 18:30 - 19:30

Archaeology and cultural anthropology share their roots within a closely intertwined research tradition, but despite of this inherent connection, they remain in many cases apart and separated in present-day research. In the light of current discourses on aspects of identity and ethics, the close connection between both subjects is becoming clearer once more. Current ethnoarchaeological approaches move at this intersection of different discourses, integrating demands on non-capitalistic practice of science (MacEachern/Cunningham 2017) as well as holistic and manifold interpretations of past human life and its position in the world.

The keynote lecture will focus on the potentials and chances of an integrated approach encompassing both archaeological, as well as cultural and social anthropological perspectives. Both perspectives must be accompanied by reflections on the theoretical and methodological background chosen, thereby creating a reflective network of thought and practice. It further provides the chance to complement narratives being influenced western by industrial viewpoints that potentially dominate scientific discourse concerning the multifaceted nature of human behavior and social organization up to today.

This approach will be illustrated by case studies from the author’s own research, integrating both anthropological and archaeological data. Research on recent megalith building traditions in Nagaland, North-East India, has revealed the interconnectedness within and roots of this phenomena in the social structures of the communities involved. The example also highlights how the construction of landscape, specific mechanisms within the social organization, and material expressions, including the use of water resources, are interlinked and cannot be seen as detached aspects of the realities of a given community. The lecture will further explore the character and potentially interwoven meanings of selected examples of artificial and natural waterscapes within the wider realm of economic or social contexts of Neolithic communities in Central Europe. Although the archaeological record remains much poorer, it will be argued that in the case of specific archaeological features, the intersections of different aspects of past human behavior and social organization can be traced.


Maria Wunderlich is currently a Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University. Since 2020 she is involved in the research of the CRC 1266 “Scales of Transformation - Human-Environmental Interaction in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies”.

In her M.A. studies she focused on the inventory, and the multifaceted use of a passage grave in Northern Germany during the phases of the Middle Neolithic. For her PhD-studies between 2014 and 2018 she was involved in the DFG-project “Equality and Inequality: Social Differentiation in Northern Central Europe 4300-2400 BC” as a research assistant at Kiel University. Within her PhD, she focused on the relation between monumental architecture and the development of social systems and has conducted ethnoarchaeological research on Sumba (Indonesia) and Nagaland in North-Eastern India. She obtained her doctoral degree (Dr. phil) in 2018. For her thesis she was awarded the travel grant of the German Archaeological Institute in 2020.

Being interested in social archaeology and comparative analyses, she combines different theoretical approaches with material data derived both in recent and archaeological contexts. She is the author of the book “Megalithic monuments and social structures. Comparative studies on recent and Funnel Beaker societies” and co-edited volumes on “Megaliths – Societies – Landscapes. Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation in Neolithic Europe” and “Archaeology in the Žitava valley I. The LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble”. Her research is focused on the intersection of archaeological and cultural anthropological questions and topics, with an emphasis on the Neolithic of Central and Northern Europe.