Session: #350

Theme & Session Format

1. Artefacts, Buildings & Ecofacts
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Bio-Arch Methodologies to Assess Mobility in the Past: The Need for Interdisciplinary and Multi-Proxy Investigations
Mobility has always been a constant in past human populations. Several proxies are routinely used to assess short and long-range displacement: e.g. molecular analyses, such as isotopes and aDNA, material culture and osteological studies. The archaeological context is then essential to evaluate the social, economic and cultural drives of human displacements and, therefore, crucial to design research questions and contextualise bio-archaeological results. What is currently needed is an ongoing dialogue between these different fields of research. This dialogue is usually limited to a few disciplines without comprehensively considering all the data available.
This session wants to emphasise the importance of a multidisciplinary approach from the very first steps of the archaeological investigation, not only in the final interpretation of the data. We want to discuss the best practices necessary to perform more comprehensive mobility studies and the limitations that arise when there is no communication between disciplines. Intra-regional mobility reconstructions, in particular, require the involvement of numerous research fields to interpret and contextualise the data. Nonetheless, discussions on long-range displacements will be welcomed, considering their prominent role in mobility studies. We encourage participants to share case studies which would benefit from a cross-disciplinary approach. We will include every proxy used in mobility assessments, such as archaeometric investigation on material culture, biomechanical analyses of long bones, isotopes and aDNA.
The primary focus of this session lies on prehistoric contexts since a lack of written sources makes interdisciplinary approaches essential for reconstructing mobility patterns. Yet, studies on Classical and Late Antiquity cases are welcomed to compare how such interdisciplinary perspectives can be applied to prehistoric and historic contexts.
Mobility, Isotopes, aDNA, Cross-sectional geometry, Material culture, Bioarchaeology
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Main organiser:
Sara Bernardini (France) 1,2
Martina Farese (Italy) 2
Carlotta Zeppilli (Italy) 2
Ileana Micarelli (United Kingdom) 3
1. Aix-Marseille Université
2. Sapienza Università di Roma
3. University of Cambridge