Round Table Abstracts

 

Michael Ashley (Berkeley, USA), Peter F. Biehl (Halle, Germany), Eric Kansa (Berkeley, USA), Ruth Tringham (Berkeley, USA)

OPEN KNOWLEDGE IN THE DIGITAL AGE: FROM FIELDWORK TO FILE FORMATS

ROUND TABLE          FRIDAY AFTERNOON

The heterogeneous and multi-scalar nature of cultural heritage resists definition and containment in simple, coherent terms that are both multi-disciplinary and internationally acceptable. We struggle with developing standards for field data reconnaissance, documentation, processing, archiving, dissemination, for the one-size-fits-all approach of top-down standards forces us to homogenize cultural artifacts in the name of interoperability. And yet without standards, how are we to develop meaningful dialogs that are not site specific but internationally valuable?

As definitions of culture move beyond physical sites to intangible heritage, we recognize it is vital to develop strategies for fieldwork that consider the exceptional diversity of the human experience. Our methodologies should attempt to democratize the process of knowledge creation by revealing our interaction with the heritage places we are engaged with, while maintaining the highest order of complexity possible.

The roundtable format allows us to openly and constructively discuss archaeological and cultural heritage fieldwork in light of the challenges and opportunities of our digital age. From site management and data collection to data sharing and public education, digital technology is redefining our discipline in exciting and potentially deleterious ways. As our dependencies on digital technologies increase, how will we assure future generations access to our 21st century archaeology? The purpose of this roundtable is to generate more questions than answers, but we also hope to achieve a set of action items from which we can move toward a sustainable future for our past.

 


 

Prof. Tom Bloemers, Amsterdam Archaeological Centre, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ROUND TABLE ON THE EUROPEAN LANDSCAPE CONVENTION: TOWARDS AN INTERDISCIPLINARY NETWORK TO SUPPORT THE EUROPEAN LANDSCAPE CONVENTION?

ROUND TABLE          FRIDAY MORNING

Participating organisers: Nora Andrikopoulou-Strack (Bonn), Felipe Criado (Santiago), Graham Fairclough (London), Zbigniew Kobylinski (Warschau), Karsten Paludan-Müller (Oslo), Tom Bloemers (Amsterdam)

The strategic opportunity

The European Landscape Convention is the first international treaty to be exclusively concerned with the protection, management and enhancement of the European landscape. This creates an extraordinary strategic opportunity for all those institutions, professionals and policy makers who care for a sustainable future of the archaeological-historical landscape. During the last years EAA conference in Lyon there were various sections dealing with topics of landscape archaeology and heritage management which have shown the overall interest by archaeologists and the state of art in different parts of Europe. In 2002 the Europae Archaeologiae Consilium has published with the support of the Council of Europe a volume dealing with this topic from an archaeological perspective (FAIRCLOUGH, G.; RIPPON, S. (eds.) (2002): Europe's Cultural Landscape: archaeologists and the management of change. Brussels).

A community of practice to support the European Landscape Convention

As a follow up of the initiative of the Europae Archaeologiae Consilium and the interest within the EAA the creation of a 'community of practice' dealing with the integration of the archaeological-historical landscape in the European landscape policy might be useful. This community could act as a network for raising the awareness of the strategic importance of the Convention, for the discussion of approaches and experiences and for the exchange of information. The network could aim at supporting the more coordinated and formal actions of the national representatives in the Convention and preparing a source of knowledge and experience for its implementation on a national and European level. The Round Table on the European Landscape Convention during the EAA 2005 conference in Cork is a platform to discuss

Those who have interest to attend the round table or to present a contribution are invited to contact one of us.

 


 

Prof. Emeritus Paul Bouissac, University of Toronto, Canada; Steven Matthews, UK

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF GESTURE: RECONSTRUCTING PREHISTORIC BEHAVIOUR

ROUND TABLE          THURSDAY AFTERNOON

The ultimate goal of prehistoric archaeology is the reconstruction of past human behaviour for which the only evidence comes from the material culture record. Macro-behaviour, that is, movements involving large populations such as migration, trade, or displacement over long periods of time, can be inferred from the presence or absence of some characteristic features of durable implements. Micro-behaviour, that is, the motor activities of individuals or small interacting groups taking place within much shorter temporal frames, such as the gestures performed in rituals, skills, manipulation of artefacts (tools, weapons, ornaments) and hunting or fishing techniques, is far more elusive. Reconstructing micro-behaviour usually relies on tentative replication, interpretative imagination and extrapolation from contemporary ethnography. However, artefacts afford a great deal of information regarding their making and their uses, and they provide rigorous sets of constraints for the objective reconstruction of the gesture assemblages they presuppose and for which they represent an indirect but reliable record mainly when they are associated with anatomical fossils and ecological knowledge (e.g., climatology).

The purpose of this round table is to critically examine the efforts made in prehistoric archaeology to infer gesture from artefacts (e.g. Leroi-Gourhan's notion of "chaîne opératoire", Marshack's microscopic examination of engraved lines, Lorblanchet's demonstrations of painting techniques), and to explore new methodologies toward advances in the archaeology of gesture, such as replication and virtual simulation. Lost gestures can indeed be reconstructed with relative reliability by systematically exploring the dynamic interface between the two sets of known constraints formed, on the one hand, by specific anatomy and hard-wired behaviour (which determines a definite range of expectations and possibilities), and, on the other hand, by artefacts (which require a sub-set of these possibilities for being manufactured and used in determined contexts). This round table will explore the conditions under which available data could form the basis for heuristic computer simulations toward a prehistoric gesture repertory.

 


 

Prof. Gerhard Ermischer, City Museums, Aschaffenburg, Germany

COMMITTEE FOR PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS IN ARCHAEOLOGY

THURSDAY MORNING, 09.00-10.40

THIS SESSION WILL BE FOLLOWED IN THE AFTERNOON BY A JOINT ROUND TABLE WITH THE COMMITTEE FOR TRAINING AND EDUCATION.
ALL THESE MEETINGS WILL TAKE PLACE IN THE SAME VENUE.

 


 

Prof. John Collis, University of Sheffield (retired)

Committee meeting on Training and Education

THURSDAY MORNING, AFTER COFFEE BREAK, 11.10-13.00

The session is open to anyone interested in university and professional training, and it includes the Annual General Meeting of the Training and Education Committee ('membership' includes all members of the EAA attending the Round Table or who are on our email list - do sign on if you are interested - contact j.r.collis@sheffield.ac.uk). We shall be electing our committee and officers (Chairman, Secretary, Executive Committee), and reporting on some of the activities of our members during the year, and generally sharing ideas and common problems and experiences, especially the impact of the Bologna agreement on Higher Education.

THIS SESSION WILL BE FOLLOWED IN THE AFTERNOON BY A JOINT ROUND TABLE WITH THE COMMITTEE FOR PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS IN ARCHAEOLOGY.
ALL THESE MEETINGS WILL TAKE PLACE IN THE SAME VENUE.

 


 

Prof. Gerhard Ermischer, City Museums Aschaffenburg, Germany, Prof. John Collis, University of Sheffield (retired)

GLOBALISATION FOR ARCHAEOLOGISTS - BOLOGNA AND THE CONSEQUENCES
Joint Round Table of the Committee for Professional Associations in Archaeology and the Committee for Education and Training

ROUND TABLE          THURSDAY AFTERNOON

The 'Bologna process' is currently changing the academic world in Europe. The aim is to establish a globalised academic training system that will allow students to accumulate credit at different universities within the EU and beyond. Exam credit and collected points will be interchangeable and valid across all of Europe. The three-stage model of Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate will be used everywhere with similar curricula and lengths of study time, comparable exams and qualifications. For many countries in Europe this will lead to a complete remodelling of their academic system. Special qualifications will have to be dropped, the undergraduate model of the Bachelor to be adopted. This has potential to cause a lot of problems in countries with very different systems, but also provides new opportunities for students and professionals to study and work abroad. Recognition of academic titles and professional qualifications within Europe will become simpler. The consequences will be profound for students, teachers and professionals alike. New postgraduate training schemes and training for professionals will have to be developed or introduced. As these developments are so very relevant to both academic and professional interests the two appropriate committees have decided to join forces for a common round table to discuss the process and how archaeologists should engage with it. We want to discuss problems as well as to look for the opportunities and challenges in the ways that the process will influence and change the professional world for archaeologists. As the process is a consequence of European legislation and political movement towards a common market and the free movement of goods, persons and services, as well as EU-driven policies towards professionalisation, we shall do so in close cooperation with the working party on European legislation.

THIS SESSION IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ROUND TABLES FOR THE COMMITTEES FOR PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS IN ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE COMMITTEE FOR TRAINING AND EDUCATION, (BOTH ON THURSDAY MORNING).
All these meetings will take place in the same venue.

 


 

Derek Hall, Perth, Scotland, with Zsolt Vagner and Maureen Mellor

THE CREATION OF A DATABASE OF MEDIEVAL AND POST-MEDIEVAL POTTERY PRODUCTION CENTRES IN EUROPE

ROUND TABLE          SATURDAY MORNING

Following the inaugural meeting of this group at the EAA conference in St Petersburg in September 2003 the first round table was held on the afternoon of 11th September 2004. This meeting was chaired by Maureen Mellor, President of the Medieval Pottery Research Group, and attended by delegates from 10 European countries. Following three short presentations on the evidence for production centres in Northern France, Hungary and the UK given by Phillipe Husi, Zsolt Vagner and Derek Hall discussion focused on the aims of the project and the proposed structure of the database. It is initially intended that the English Heritage funded National Database of Medieval Pottery Production Centres in England is used as a model for the form and construction of a European one with necessary additions and subtractions depending on the level of evidence available in each country. It was also agreed that it would be very important to produce a web-based version of the database that would allow the dissemination of the evidence across Europe to anyone who was interested.

It is intended to seek funding for a 2 or 3 year project that will begin with discussions and workshops about the format of the proposed database, interest in being involved in the first stage have been tabled by delegates from France, Hungary, Belgium, Ireland and the UK (Wales/Scotland/Northern Ireland). A group e-mail has been set up by Derek Hall and this will remain the main point of contact and discussion for the working party. Derek Hall (dhall@suat.demon.co.uk), Secretary, Working Party on the creation of a database of medieval and post-medieval pottery production centres in Europe.

 


 

Sebastian Joubert, NRA, Kerry County Council, Castleisland, Co. Kerry.

DECISION MAKING IN DEVELOPMENT-LED ARCHAEOLOGY

ROUND TABLE          FRIDAY AFTERNOON

The considerable increase in development-led excavation in Europe for at least the last twenty years has fundamentally changed archaeological practice. The majority of archaeological works are now undertaken by private contractors in advance of development. The priorities of archaeologists and developers have at times been in conflict and this conflict has given rise to frustration among archaeologists, developers, the general public and state bodies. Under the current Irish system, all archaeological features are treated as being unique. Development-led archaeology requires full and unquestioned meticulous excavation and recording of any and all features encountered. This system is both indiscriminate and arbitrary and removes the decision making process from the field archaeologist.

In effect the field archaeologist is required to harvest all conceivable data from a particular site, regardless of its usefulness or relevance, without thought given to the greater archaeological record. The concept of preservation by record as practiced in Ireland today could be perceived as simple information gathering or data collection. Can archaeologists best excavate and interpret a site giving due consideration to time and costs expectations, while at the same time not compromise the archaeology or create unnecessary data? Can research frameworks be developed which would give greater purpose and direction to development-led excavation? Without this approach, archaeology will remain in the realms of recording by rote with little or no cognitive thought.

It is intended that this proposed round-table will give European Archaeologists an opportunity to discuss the development of archaeological techniques and decision-making when faced with small or large-scale developments. This round-table will also try to address issues relating to the developmental climate in which European Archaeology now sits, while considering knowledge creation as a priority.

This round table is associated with the Lacey & Ryan's session "Research in a time of development-led archaeology"(Friday morning).
Other related sessions are Williams and van den Dries "Quality Assurance in Archaeology" (Thursday am) and O'Rourke's "Models of archaeological organisation on highways projects", (Thursday pm).

 


 

Dr Gus Lange, National Service for the Archaeological Heritage, Amersfoort, The Netherlands.

EUROPEAN REFERENCE COLLECTION

ROUND TABLE          SATURDAY AFTERNOON

The concept of the European Reference Collection (eRC) has been discussed for the first time at a Round Table at the EAA 2002 in Thessaloniki. Thereupon the eRC-initiative group was formed at the EAA Round Table in St. Petersburg in 2003 and corroborated at the eRC Conference in Amersfoort, May 2004, and at the EAA ARENA-session in Lyon, September 2004.

The group applied for Culture2000 funding in 2003 and 2004, of which the first was not awarded and the outcome of the second bid will be published before we will meet at the Round Table in Cork. Our agenda for this meeting will be mainly devoted to two issues:

  1. what are the next steps once we know whether the Culture2000 bid is awarded or not
  2. the formal founding and setting up the organisation of a EAA Working party on standards, in particular on the use of ontologies and thesaurus building and the use of computer protocols and procedures.

The aim of the working party is to promote the quality of archaeological fact gathering and interpretation by offering sustainable access to widely dispersed knowledge sources on material culture, that are the building blocks of archaeological education, theory and policy making. This will allow the development of a European knowledge infrastructure to make knowledge sources and background information available to professional and non-professional users in a distributed, interactive and networked environment.

 


 

Kathrine Stene, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Eva Svensson, Institute of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund University, Ingunn Holm, Department of Archaeology, the University of Bergen

LIMINAL LANDSCAPES

ROUND TABLE          THURSDAY AFTERNOON (FOLLOWING ON FROM MORNING SESSION)

This session and the following round table focus on liminal landscapes, landscapes outside what archaeologists traditionally define as central areas. Liminal landscapes are often considered as marginal and peripheral, a fact that too easily colour the study of the archaeological material of these areas. These landscapes are often viewed as passive in relation to an active centre, and thus considered marginal also from a social perspective. Due to such perceptions archaeological projects on liminal landscapes risk being marginalised both in academic research and within the cultural heritage management.

In contrast to what is traditionally recognised as central areas, i.e. champion agricultural areas, liminal landscapes are set in rougher topographical environments e.g. mountains, forests, heathlands, wetlands and coastal areas. Such environments are, in modern society, often mistaken for nature and not recognised as complex and varied cultural landscapes created in a dialogue involving human strategies and topographical frameworks. This misconception contributes to the devaluation of the historical importance of the liminal landscapes.

This session and the following round table will focus on aspects of various liminal landscapes; the dynamics of land use in older times, the understanding and experience of the landscapes both in older times and by modern society and how to upgrade the importance of liminal landscapes on the agendas both within cultural heritage management and environmental preservation.

 


 

Dr Christopher Young and J.P. Demoule

Open Meeting/ Round Table of the EAA Committee on Archaeological Legislation and Organisation in Europe

ROUND TABLE          SATURDAY AFTERNOON

This round table is associated with the Peter Alexander-Fitzgerald's session "Heritage Adminstrative Law in the twenty-first century. Fact or Fantasy?" (Saturday morning)