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Keynote lectures

Hegemony and ‘Relational Associations’ in the Roman Empire

Vladimir Mihajlović

When: Thursday 1 Sept, 13:00 - 14:00 CEST
Where: Hungarian National Museum

The Roman world has been seen as networked formation: web of cities, globalized and globalizing system, and outcome of ‘work-nets’ of people and things. Indeed, Roman imperial structure could be effectively understood as an intricate, multidirectional, varied and fluctuating array of co-relations that spread in multiple manners.

Nevertheless, these relationalities were not self-made, self-supporting and finished entities. Rather, they were ever emerging through vibrant multileveled interactions, and involved the diversity of individuals and groups, but also natural and ‘supernatural’ worlds, as well as inanimate objects. Also, instead of being free-formed and random articulations, they were systematized by at least loosely defined modes of interplay. Hence, social and cultural phenomena of the Empire can be appreciated as relational associations (or constellations, assemblages) of co-constitutive actors - humans, ideas, natural entities and materialities. Additionally, I would argue, such networking was inevitably entangled with ‘theory’ and practice of imperialism as it operated through specific worldviews, templates of hierarchical ordering, down-scale domination, and systemic discriminations. In other words, relational associations were highly ideologized and imbued with different kinds of power, prone to manipulation by the privileged, and thus with hegemonic capacities in social, cultural, economic and biological terms. Consequently, they were not all-inclusive, neutral and benign systems of affordances: rather, they were reified trough plethora of preferences and exclusions, privileges and oppressions.

The outlined position will be elaborated by case studies that question the role of materiality within hegemonizing relational constellations in the Pannonian-Balkan area of the Empire.

Biography

Vladimir Mihajlović is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad (Serbia), where he works with the courses in archaeology and cultural heritage. His main areas of research are late Iron Age and Roman archaeology, with the focus on local-imperial interactions, Roman imperialism and its socio-cultural effects, and construction of identities in the provinces. He also studies contemporary reception of the Roman period, as well as social role and usage of archaeology. Specifically, he tends to employ anthropological and sociological theories in order to widen the approach and improve analytical tools of archaeological perspective. Besides of being involved in different research projects in Serbia, he is co-organizer of biannual international conference Imperialism and Identities at the Edges of the Roman World, and coeditor of the publications derived from them.


Vladimir Mihajlović

Interdisciplinary Approaches and Their Integration into Early Iron Age Studies in SE Europe

Matija Črešnar

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.

Biography

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.


Matija Črešnar

The Flourishing and Decline of Neolithic Civilizations in East-Central and Southeast Europe: A Review on Concurrent Paleoclimate and Paleoenvironmental Changes

Enikö Magyari

When: Thursday 1 Sept, 18:45 - 19:45 CEST

The Neolithic was a critical turning point in the evolution of human societies that fell in the time of the Holocene climatic optimum. In EC Europe, the early and middle 5th millennium BC was the most flourishing development period for the Neolithic Civilization (NC), known as the ‘golden 5th millennium’ due to the substantial progress made by human communities at multiple levels. About 4550-4200-4000 cal BC, the first signs of decline became visible, with the burning and/or abandonment of hundreds (>600) of tell settlements apparently in the same centuries in the East Balkans (BG-RO, SRB-HU). There are three broad explanations for this decline: (1) population movements (penetration of new populations from the North Pontic steppe (NPS)), (2) environmental fluctuations, and (3) internal social changes. In this presentation we will review climatic and biome changes at the Neolithic onset and decline and examine the spatial differences in land cover changes attributable to human impact. It is well-known that the Neolithic expansion coincided with the Holocene Summer Thermal Maximum after the 8.2 rapid climate change event. Its waning during the Chalcolithic, on the other hand, occurred when cooler summers and increasing wetness appeared in the mid-5th millennium BC exacerbated by the 4.0/3.9-3.2 ka BC Rapid Climate Change (RCC) event (Bond Event 4). Biomes of both the vast Pontic and Pannonian steppes and the forests of the low and mid mountains underwent rapid changes between 4600 and 4200 BC, with a ~2oC decrease in July mean temperatures in the Southern Carpathians; increased available moisture and summer cooling facilitated the expansion of forest steppe in the NPS, a biome shift towards warm temperate forest steppe with the expansion of hornbeam and withdrawal of spruce in both Transylvania and the Pannonian steppe. This period was, however; also beset with short-lived arid events, most conspicuously in the eastern steppe zone around 4200 BC when the local population moved North and West. However, no such marked arid events are obvious in Transylvania and the Danube Plain. In the Danube Delta and extraordinary rapid sedimentation appeared from ~4200 BC, the Black Sea level rose meaning that coastal and floodplain farming sites were in danger. Furthermore, the demise of the NC also appeared along with the first demonstrated spread of plague suggesting the combined effects of various factors. At this time, traditional crop cultivation was increasingly complemented with hunting and animal husbandry of large-bodied animals, as is shown by discoveries from the last phases of some tell settlements from RO.

Biography

Enikő Magyari is a paleoecologist focusing on the last glacial and Holocene climate history and vegetation dynamics of East-Central Europe. She is a full professor in Earth Sciences at Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. Currently she is head of department at the Environment and Landscape Geography Department and scientific advisor at the ELKH-MTM-ELTE Research Group of Palaeontology. Together with PhD students and colleagues, she works actively in the Climate Change and Paleoecology Research Group.


Enikő Magyari

Exploring the Latest Scientific Results of the Early Prehistory of the Iron Gates: A Significant Landscape at the Fringe of the Carpathian Basin

Adina Boroneant

When: Friday 2 Sept, 13:00 - 14:00 CEST

The Iron Gates section of the Lower Danube along the border between Romania and Serbia has a significant record of Mesolithic and Early Neolithic settlements spanning from ca. 13.000 to 5500 cal BC. Archaeological surveys triggered by the decision to build two hydro-dams on the Lower Danube between Serbia and Romania identified over 50 cave and open-air sites dated to the Late Pleistocene and the Early Holocene on both banks of the river. The subsequent rescue excavations uncovered numerous burials and architectural remains and produced rich inventories of faunal material and portable artifacts (artworks and ornaments of bone, shell and stone). Although most of the Iron Gates sites have been submerged by the reservoir lake, some were only partially flooded and new excavations have been possible at Schela Cladovei, Vlasac, and Aria Babi. Recent advances in the archaeological science triggered studies of the finds from both the newer and the earlier excavations. This is a review of the recently acquired knowledge on the Mesolithic and the Early Neolithic in the Iron Gates. The presentation is divided into various sections dealing with chronology, mortuary practices, isotopic studies of subsistence and mobility patterns, as well as the nature and timing of the transition from Mesolithic to Neolithic. This will hopefully fall within the scope of the main theme “The Carpathian Basin: Integration, Mobility and Diversity” by interpreting material culture, applying theoretical approaches and exploring the latest scientific results in the Iron Gates region.

Biography

Senior Researcher at the ”Vasile Pârvan” Institute of Archaeology of the Romanian Academy.

Graduate of the Computers and Automaton Faculty of the Polytechnic University in Bucharest (1996) and the History Faculty of the University of Bucharest (2000). PhD at the Institute of Archaeology of the Romanian Academy on the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in the Iron Gates area of the Danube (2010). Fulbright Alumni (Visiting Researcher at the University of Madison – Wisconsin, 2004-2005). Postdoctoral Grant of the Romanian Academy (2011-2013).

My main research interests are linked to the Early Prehistory of southeastern Europe, focusing on the Mesolithic and the Neolithic: application of scientific dating methods in archaeological research, raw material sourcing and technologies by means of chemical-physical studies, funerary archaeology, and human-environment interactions. I also take a keen interest on the Bronze Age of southern Romania from the perspective of the lithic and environmental studies.

Author of the Mesolithic-Early Neolithic transition in the Iron Gates of the Danube (in Romanian, 2012) and co-edited From foragers to farmers (2018), Beauty and the eye of the beholder (2020), Recreating artefacts and ancient skills: from experiment to interpretation (2022) On-going excavations in the Mesolithic/Early Neolithic site at Schela Cladovei, in the Iron Gates section of the Lower Danube.


Adina Boroneant

A Third Scientific Revolution in the Third Millennium BC: Yamnaya, Globular Amphoras, Corded Wares, Bell Beakers

Volker Heyd

When: Friday 2 Sept, 13:00 - 14:00 CEST

It is now eight years ago that one of the Nestors of our discipline, Professor Kristian Kristiansen, published his seminal article “Towards a New Paradigm? The Third Science Revolution and its Possible Consequences in Archaeology” in the Current Swedish Archaeology volume 22. It reviewed, in a nutshell, past methodological directions and highlighted a near future in which the collaboration with biological, environmental and computer sciences determines a new promising trajectory in Archaeology. Well, this future is now somehow already reality, and in this lecture I want to demonstrate how sciences --particularly ancient DNA, isotopes, bio-marker lipids, proteomics, and also bio-anthropology-- have completely altered our perspective on late 4th and 3rd millennium BC populations, societies and cultures, economies, and migrations across Europe. Particularly beginning to understand the mutual interactions in the sequence Yamnaya – Globular Amphoras – Corded Wares – Bell Beakers as part of a continental-scale horizon of transformations would not have been possible without the effects of the Third Scientific Revolution.

Biography

Volker Heyd is a Professor at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Previously, he worked as a heritage manager/researcher in Germany and --before moving to Helsinki in 2018-- for 17 years at the University of Bristol in the UK. Volker is a prehistoric archaeologist, currently dedicating himself to topics around human mobility, migrations, identity and ethnicity. He also promotes scientific applications in Archaeology, particularly ancient DNA, stable isotopes and biomarker lipids. Volker has authored/edited nine books and published about 100 articles, spanning from the Early Neolithic in Anatolia to the Iron Age in Central Europe. Currently he leads as overall PI the ERC Advanced project ‘The Yamnaya Impact on Prehistoric Europe’ (2019-2024).


Volker Heyd

Right here: Considering the location of artefacts and archaeological values

Suzie Thomas

When: Saturday 3 Sept, 13:00 - 14:00 CEST
Where: Building B, room 172

Inspired by many of the threads of the “Archaeologists and Archaeology Here and Now” theme of EAA 2022, I attempt in this keynote to situate the ethical values, assumptions and identities that archaeologists hold within a wider societal and cultural context. This is a challenge even within Europe, as we see culturally and economically diverse settings. We know that even archaeologists that have signed up to the EAA and its responsibilities are far from a homogeneous group sharing common ground on all issues.

Nonetheless, many archaeologists have spent time, especially in conferences and through publications, discussing and reflecting on the future of the discipline, its significance to society, and how best to communicate about what they do. This seems urgent, as we witness once formidable archaeology departments facing threat of, or actual closure, and funding cuts all around. An even greater challenge for archaeologists may be to meet perspectives from outside of the discipline, and to situate themselves more broadly outside of their usual circles.

A central question which many archaeologists work with - either directly or indirectly - is that of what should happen to the archaeological artefacts themselves. Do they all belong in a museum? Can (or should) ownership be conceived of in numerous ways? What should happen to all of the things that get found? Although archaeology is ultimately about people - in the here and now and also in the past (and perhaps the future too) - it is hard to deny that artefacts themselves have agency. In my keynote I do not offer answers but hope to provide food for thought, perhaps even context.

Biography

Suzie Thomas, FSA, is a Professor of Heritage Studies at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. She gained a PhD in Heritage Studies from Newcastle University, in which she investigated the relationships between archaeology and metal detecting in England and Wales. She has worked previously at the Council for British Archaeology, and at the Universities of Glasgow and Helsinki, at the latter of which she also holds Title of Docent. For research, she is particularly interested in non-professional and alternative responses to archaeology, navigating so-called ‘dark’ heritage, and heritage crime. Suzie teaches on the new Masters programme in Heritage Studies in the University of Antwerp, which launches in September 2022, and is a member of the Antwerp Cultural Heritage Sciences (ARCHES) research team.


Suzie Thomas