Session: #212

Theme & Session Format

Archaeological theory and methods beyond paradigms
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Roman Archaeology and the 21st Century
Two decades into the 21st century, the political and social framework of Europe is facing multiple challenges with issues such as migration, growing political and social instabilities, and economic uncertainties on the table. Against the backdrop of these current transformations, Roman Archaeology could (rightly?) be considered an exclusive and elitist pastime by detached academics. Our session thus aims at discussing two major topics:
(1) Who cares about the Roman past anyway?
In the light of demographic changes in Europe, we must consider to which parts of society and to which audience Roman Archaeology is catering. Is the Roman past an identity marker only for a white, indigenous, European, Western civilization? What role can Roman Archaeology play in a society in quantitative and structural demographic transition? What strategies might Roman Archaeology develop to include all strata of the population?
(2) What is the take on Roman Archaeology at grassroot level?
Certain methodological, theoretical and intellectual issues of current international scholarship, such as the fragmentation of Archaeology into subdisciplines, growing language barriers, or questions on the costly application of natural sciences and new technologies are often only related to the realm of well-funded, higher-education research institutions. What are the key issues that fall under the remit of local museums, archaeological parks, heritage agencies and the large number of non-academics engaging in Roman Archaeology?
Interested non-academics from the re-enactment scene, field archaeologists and find officers of regional heritage agencies, museum curators and managers, university faculty, and political stakeholders are invited to share their perspectives about the current state, potentials and limits of Roman Archaeology in the 21st century. The session aims at exploring Roman Archaeology’s relevance today by giving a voice to all those involved in the discipline and by gathering professionals from all backgrounds contributing to the study of the Roman World.
Roman Archaeology, International Discourse, Methods, Theories
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Main organiser:
Andrew Lawrence (Switzerland) 1,2
Cristina Murer (Switzerland) 3
Stefan Krmnicek (Germany) 4
1. Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften, Universität Bern
2. CLUE+, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
3. Abteilung für Alte Geschichte und Rezeptionsgeschichte der Antike Historisches Institut, Universität Bern
4. University of Tübingen