Session: #90

Theme & Session Format

Archaeological theory and methods beyond paradigms
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

‘Massive Migrations’? Multiscalar and Multidisciplinary Approaches to Prehistoric Migrations and Mobility in Europe
The last few years have witnessed the publication of a series of papers proposing the occurrence of ‘large-scale migrations’ mostly in third millennium cal BC Europe. The uproar in the archaeological community was immediate, for these were interpretations based primarily on the statistical modelling of aDNA datasets. There were problems (e.g. important gaps) with the sampling, and, notably, the complexity of the archaeological record of the regions involved (some in clear disagreement with a large-scale migration model) was largely ignored. In addition, archaeologists have highlighted the need for developing appropriate theoretical frameworks for addressing past migrations and mobility at multiple scales, as well as a shared language for facilitating the communication among geneticists and archaeologists. Less mentioned but equally important is the need to go beyond the ‘grand-narrative’ as the sole possible framework for addressing past migrations. There is therefore an urgent need to develop multiscalar and multidisciplinary approaches which pay adequate attention to the micro- and meso-scales, and their potential to generate richer understandings of regional-scale social and economic processes —and their temporalities— underlying larger-scale population dynamics.

This session aims to bring together contributions presenting multiscalar, multidisciplinary and theoretically informed research on migrations and mobility of humans, animals, artefacts/materials, and/or knowledge in prehistoric Europe. We are particularly interested in papers developing innovative theoretical frameworks to past migrations and mobility, frameworks that address social and economic processes and their relationship with larger scale population dynamics, research that uses varied lines of evidence and a range of scientific methods for the study of past mobility at multiple interlinked scales (e.g. aDNA, isotope analyses, petrography, Bayesian modelling).
Mobility, Migrations, Prehistory, Theory, Method, Multiscale
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Main organiser:
Marta Diaz-Guardamino Uribe (United Kingdom) 1
Volker Heyd (Finland) 2
1. Durham University
2. University of Helsinki