Session: #521

Theme & Session Format

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

Title & Content

Shaping a Discipline: Knowledge Transmission and Exchange in the History of Archaeology. Part 1
The circulation of concepts, ideas, theories and methods was essential to the development of archaeology since its early days. Evolutionism, the three-age system, diffusionism, culture history, processual archaeology, radiocarbon dating, behavioural archaeology, the Harris matrix, post-processual archaeology and new materialism, among many other, have all shaped archaeological theory and practice as we know it today. However, their impact on and absorption in the discipline was geographically and chronologically uneven. This session explores knowledge transmission and exchange throughout the history of archaeology in Europe and elsewhere, from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. We welcome papers that examine any of the following topics: the trajectories followed by concepts, ideas, theories and methods during their dispersal within the archaeology of different regions; the dissemination channels (e.g. correspondence, congresses, publications) through which these were transmitted and the role of social and academic networks in this process; and their use as devices for propaganda purposes, attaining personal prestige (including through appropriation) and establishing power relationships and hierarchies. We would also like to encourage discussions on the reception or rejection of various intellectual frameworks in the archaeology of different countries, and the political, economic, social and cultural contexts in which these attitudes occurred; the ways in which conceptual and methodological schemes influenced the practice of archaeological actors and institutions, and fostered multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary encounters.
history of archaeology, knowledge transmission, knowledge exchange, theory, intellectual framework, networks
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Laura Coltofean-Arizancu (Spain) 1
Ana Cristina Martins (Portugal) 2
Bettina Arnold (United States) 3
1. University of Barcelona
2. IHC-FCSH NOVA – Pólo Universidade de Évora and Uniarq-UL
3. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee