European Association of Archaeologists conference, 2010

Katherine Cooper-Leckie of the University of Cambridge and I just got fabulous news that our session proposal has been accepted for the upcoming European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) conference in The Hague, Netherlands, 1-5 September 2010.  The call for papers is now open, and I’ve posted our abstract below:

Objects and images in the history of archaeology

Research into the history of archaeology is often an offshoot of the discipline, tucked into the sidelines of everyday practice. As a result, our method and theory can often seem overly presentist, reveling in the apparent novelty of current-day approaches. Arguably, this presentism is especially obvious in visual and object-oriented enquiry in archaeology, whose currency nowadays might imply that such concerns with materiality are a recent addition to the field.

However, even the briefest look at the history of the discipline testifies to the longstanding embroilment of visualisation and materialisation in archaeology’s evolution. What is important is that there are a range of innovative approaches now in use (by historically-minded archaeologists and others) which aim to untangle these relationships, illuminating the place of images and objects in the discipline’s intellectual and material development.

This session aims to begin laying out the case for a rich and deep history of visual and material operation in the archaeological field. We endeavour to demonstrate not only that visualisation and materialisation have been entangled in archaeology from its most embryonic moments, but that this history continues to impact on current practice. The papers in this session seek to examine these entanglements, drawing parallels between different artefact types and their roles in the development of the discipline. We aim to highlight various methodologies, from museum collections analysis to graphic study to historic archival research. Themes that we look to explore include visualisation, the creation of artefacts, and the circulation and categorisation of objects–our aim being to address such questions as:

– What role do objects and images play in archaeology and its historical development?

– How have collecting and exhibiting practices enabled the formalisation of the discipline?

– How is archaeological knowledge made through material and visual culture?

Under the banner of the Visualisation in Archaeology project, Garry Gibbons and Rob Read are also hosting a roundtable on “Visualising Archaeology: Towards a European Perspective on Skills Requirements and Provision” at the EAA meeting, so it looks like it’s going to be an exciting conference!

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