Fields, Sherds, and Scholars

It’s been all teaching for me since late August as I manage courses at Messiah College in Latin, Ancient Civilizations, and Historical Archaeology (including a little field component). But fall break is here at last which gives me a little reprieve to catch up on grading, stain the fence, and pass along a few of the goodies that have gathered in my inbox. (Next semester should be lighter which gives me some hope that I’ll return to a more regular output of Corinthiaka.)

For now, I pass along this circular for a conference titled, “Fields, Sherds and Scholars: Recording and interpreting survey ceramics,” which the Dutch Institute of Athens will host from February 24-25. Interpreting ceramic scatters is foundational to regional pedestrian survey, the most established method for reconstructing the ancient countryside, yet remains poorly understood. The deadline for submitting 200-word abstracts is Oct. 24. For information about submission, see this PDF circular.

Survey ceramics have always been convenient chronological markers of archaeological surveys, enabling us to recognize and date survey sites. Although landscape archaeology has now been going on for more than half a century and the amount of sherds collected in these projects is overwhelming, the interpretative value of the ceramic material is rarely exploited. What do the dots on the map actually represent and how did people use and shape the landscape?

This conference will also address sampling, recording and publication strategies that would best serve the interpretation of survey ceramics. Of course these depend on the research questions we have in mind, but to some extent the material itself dictates opportunities and limitations. The dataset is shaped by the choices what field data to record, which material to collect and how to record and publish. These strategic choices determine our research possibilities and the comparative value of project results.

We are pleased to invite you to contribute to this conference within the frame of these two topics:
• Sampling, recording and publication strategies
• Interpretative potential for survey ceramics

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Categories: Archaeological Survey, Conferences

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