Session: #198

Theme & Session Format

6. A Decade after the ‘Third Science Revolution in Archaeology’
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

From Fire to Light
Fire is a central element for humans with multiple uses (heating, cooking, performing craft activities, or socializing). It is also a source of artificial lighting, a crucial resource for the expansion of social, symbolic and economic behaviour during the nighttime or the daytime within dark spaces such as deep caves.

If anthropologists have shown that the uses of light are eminently cultural, archaeologists have long focused on materials and lighting techniques. Although, in recent years, the field of pyroarchaeology has developed a lot in archaeology, often with the help of new technologies such as virtual reality, for example, certain aspects such as the study of light, an ephemeral object that often leaves diffuse traces, remain little developed. The methodological peculiarities, the specific materials and the interpretative questions that surround this subject push us to consider the development and promotion of a branch within archaeology for the specific study of light in the past.

This session aims to showcase the potential of studying lighting remains in order to obtain archaeological inferences. It also aims to create synergies between specialists who have approached this topic from different scientific fields. We invite proposals on lighting practices, namely on the materials, the techniques and the function of lighting, from prehistory to the present days. Contributions on the definition or evaluation of light proxies (chars, charcoals, soot deposits, rubefaction traces, lamps, etc.), their study through various methodological approaches (archaeometry, ethnography, experiments, etc.) and about works related to physical or virtual simulation in order to advance scientific research or to promote “heritage in the dark” will be warmly welcomed.
Fire, Light, Pyroarchaeology, Experimental archaeology, Archaeometry, Anthropology
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
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Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:
A session about pyroarchaeology and experiments is deposited in thema 6 by Mareike Stahlschmidt, Christopher Miller and Carolina Mallol. Our two sessions echo each other. Therefore, we would like to ask the EAA board to avoid scheduling overlaps between the two sessions. Thanks!


Main organiser:
Ségolène Vandevelde (France) 1,2
Catherine Ferrier (France) 3
Mª Ángeles Medina-Alcaide (Spain) 4,5,6
Bastien Rueff (France) 7
1. Université Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonne, UMR7041 ArScAn équipe Archéologies environnementales
2. Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE/IPSL (CEA-CNRS-UVSQ-Université Paris Saclay)
3. Université de Bordeaux
4. Fondation Fyssen, Université de Bordeaux
5. Department of History, University of Córdoba (UCO)
6. International Institute for Prehistoric Research of Cantabria (IIIPC)
7. UMR7041 ArScAn, équipe Protohistoire égéenne