When:Thursday 1 Sept, 18:45 - 19:45 CEST
Monumental hillforts and extensive burial mound cemeteries are among the most iconic prehistoric features in the area between the Alps and the Danube, and beyond. Their history of research dates back to the work of antiquarians when the first cornerstones of our discipline were laid. Furthermore, their study contributed to the development of the classical toolkit of prehistoric archaeology, which still forms the foundations of our research today. In recent decades, a number of newly emerging methods and techniques are increasingly contributing to a better understanding of the many facets of the prehistoric archaeological record. However, we sometimes fall short when integrating these novel approaches into our existing knowledge base.
In this talk, I will focus on the Early Iron Age between the Alps and the Danube and will highlight what the most important new interdisciplinary developments have contributed to our understanding of the region and how the results have been integrated into previously established interpretations. The extensive use of airborne laser scanning and geophysical methods has made our largest dataset, the landscape, much more tangible. Hillforts and burial mounds are thus no longer discussed as independent monuments but as integral parts of their surroundings. Important progress has also been made in the use of various geoarchaeological methods to help us understand the complex biographies of prehistoric sites, their parts, but also of individual features and structures more precisely. Not to forget the detailed analyses of various artefacts and materials, including animal and human skeletal remains, where important new approaches have been established. In relation to the latter, stable isotope and genetic studies have opened up new horizons for the understanding not only of individuals, their familial and other social ties, but prehistoric demography on an unprecedented scale.
Last but not least in integrating this new knowledge into our understanding of the prehistoric past, is the important work of heritage promotion in fostering a natural alliance between cultural heritage and an (informed) wider public. This is, for example, in the Danube region, supported and enhanced by the Iron Age Danube Route, a recently certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.
Matija Črešnar (PhD 2009) is Assoc. Prof. of Archaeology of the Metal Ages at the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. Since its establishment in 2019, he is also Chair of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Archaeology (CIRA) at the Department of Archaeology, which aims to promote interdisciplinary and inter-institutional cooperation in the fields of archaeology and cultural heritage. Since 2009 he has also been partially employed at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia (IPCHS), where he is mainly involved in the management of international projects and collaborations, as well as the promotion of archaeological heritage.
In his research he specializes in Bronze Age and Iron Age studies in Central and South-Eastern Europe. The emphasis of his research lies in the integration of classical archaeological approaches with recent technological and methodological developments in the field. The most extensive studies under his direction focus on archaeological landscapes, using remote sensing and geophysics. He is also involved in the study of various archaeological materials and human skeletal remains, recently employing stable isotope and genetic analysis.
He has (co)published widely on the above topics, including eight edited volumes, numerous journal articles, book chapters, and articles in conference proceedings, and has organized/contributed to several exhibitions, conferences, sessions etc.