Session: #111

Theme & Session Format

5. Assembling archaeological theory and the archaeological sciences
Session format:
Discussion session (with formal abstracts)

Title & Content

Preserving Transformative ‘Palimpsests’: The Role of Digital Heritage and Participative Approaches in Current Urban Archaeology
Towns and cities are complex, densely populated settlements that are in constant transformation. However, many of the strategies undertaken to conserve and disseminate the value of heritage sites within present-day cities does not value transformation. Differently, they tend to prioritize certain historical periods whilst others remain overlooked. This results in the discontinuity of historical layers and the loss of integrative dialogues and descriptions of day-to-day life.
We argue that cities as archaeological palimpsests are ‘deep cities’ - the depth of which needs to be explored, identified and promoted in a participatory and socially inclusive manner (JPI ‘Deep Cities’ project This session will search for more socially inclusive forms of preservation and management of urban heritage. By exploring new participative methods to preserve urban multi-temporal palimpsests, as theoretical approach to understand temporality in a relative manner (Lucas 2005). Under the concept of deep cities, we aim to broaden the understanding of historical continuity through the layers of social values and multivocal narratives. We are looking for conceptual frameworks and empirical case studies that draw on digital tools, co-production and archaeological research. The narratives that can arise from this debate and how they can be integrated into the objectives of a broader social archaeology, could also be discussed.
In short, this session will address key questions including but are not limited to:
● How are current archaeological practices embedded in urban transformations?
● What is the role of heritage management professionals and archaeologists in valuing social dimensions in heritage conservation within constantly changing urban contexts?
● How can participatory, people-centred, and digital approaches contribute to the ongoing transformation of deep cities? What new sustainable futures can open up for our cultural heritage?

Lucas. (2005). The Archaeology of Time. London: Routledge.
Urban Transformations, Contemporary Archaeology, Digital Heritage, temporality, Social Archaeology, Sustainable Development
Session associated with MERC:
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Main organiser:
Torgrim Guttormsen (Norway) 1
Ana Pastor Perez (Spain) 2
Paloma Guzman (Norway) 3
Kalliopi Fouseki (United Kingdom) 4
Chiara Bonacchi (United Kingdom) 5
1. Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research. NIKU
2. University of Barcelona
3. Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research. NIKU.
4. UCL (University College London) Institute for Sustainable Heritage
5. University of Stirling