Session: #35

Theme & Session Format

5. Assembling archaeological theory and the archaeological sciences
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Human Mobility and Archaeological Thought: Moving forward
Human mobility has held a central and often contentious place in archaeology. Early archaeological theory, culture-historical archaeology, viewed large-scale human mobility, migration, as the driving force of any change in the material record. The advent of processual archaeology witnessed a denial of the importance of past human mobility as a cultural change agent, and an emphasis on indigenous processes and internal dynamics. More recently, post-processual archaeology stressed the role of human agency and revived the interest in the study of human mobility, acknowledging the complexity of this phenomenon. Indeed, it is nowadays appreciated that human mobility has taken several forms and was motivated by diverse incentives. To disentangle the dynamic movement of people, ideas, technologies, and objects, contemporary research encompasses a broad range of approaches from the archaeological sciences. Isotopic, ancient DNA, biodistance studies, provenance analysis and network analysis have all been adopted in different contexts. Now that the complexity of past human mobility is self-evident and the methodological tools to explore it are ever-developing, the conditions have matured to reassess the interplay between archaeological theory and human mobility. This session seeks contributions that discuss past human mobility in the context of network theory, identity studies, nationalism and postcolonial archaeology, as well as contributions that explore the social role of archaeology in understanding contemporary large- and small-scale human relocations. We are also interested in contributions that amalgamate archaeological science approaches in the study of human mobility with broader archaeological evidence as well as evidence from other fields, such as epigraphy, historiography, and environmental studies. Finally, we encourage submissions focussed not only on the factors that instigated mobility and the nature of the mobility events but also on the implications of the relocation of past humans at a socio-economic and biological level.
mobility, migration, networks, archaeometry, bioarchaeology
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Main organiser:
Efthimia Nikita (Cyprus) 1
Anita Radini (United Kingdom) 2
Giuseppina Mutri (Cyprus) 1
1. The Cyprus Institute
2. University of York