Session: #412

Theme & Session Format

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

Title & Content

People on the Move: Changing Genes, Cultures and Languages
Population encounters - migrations, dispersal and admixtures - have brought about changes in cultures, languages, genes, and landscape through history. Recently, ancient DNA studies pointing to considerable temporal changes in the European gene pool have resurged migration as an explanatory model for cultural change in prehistoric societies. These scientific findings, however, have rarely been discussed in a more theoretical framework to demonstrate the complex relation between material and immaterial cultures, and genes. Instead, the biochemical and -molecular data produced under the umbrella of the 3rd Scientific Revolution in archaeology have been suited to old models in explaining cultural changes in the past. We have far less acknowledged the conceptual discussions from the beginning of the 21st on the matter of social identities (see Furholt 2019).
In this session we discuss the theoretical challenges in bringing together humanities and natural sciences. We invite case studies and wider theoretical contributions to discuss the interplay between archaeological/anthropological theories and archaeological sciences in the context of piles of data obtained with a variety of laboratory methods during the last decade. We welcome researchers combining archaeology, and linguistics with genetics and other biomolecular analysis, and archaeological/anthropological theories to study changes caused by (pre)historic population contacts. The presentations could focus either on i) the state-of-the-art methodologies in any of these fields or in interdisciplinary studies of human past, ii) challenges of bringing together archaeology, genetics, linguistics and other disciplines in the study of cultural change in (pre)historic societies and/or iii) to the challenges and threats in communicating the novel results to the wider non-academic audiences.

Furholt, M. 2019. Re-integrating Archaeology: A Contribution to aDNA Studies and the Migration Discourse on the 3rd Millennium BC in EuropeProceedings of the Prehistoric Society 85, 2019, pp. 115–129.
migration, archaeological theory, aDNA, biomolecular analysis, languages
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Main organiser:
Mari Torv (Estonia) 1
Kristiina Tambets (Estonia) 2
Outi Vesakoski (Finland) 3
Ulla Moilanen (Finland) 4
Silvia-Kristiin Kask (Estonia) 5
1. Research Fellow, Department of Archaeology, Institute of History and Archaeology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Tartu
2. Senior Researcher, Vice director of the Institute of Genomics, Institute of Genomics, University of Tartu
3. Researcher, Department of Finno-Ugric Languages, University of Turku
4. PhD student, Department of Archaeology, University of Turku
5. Assistant, Department of Archaeology, Institute of History and Archaeology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Tartu