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CfP: First symposium on The History of Mediterranean Archaeology in the Low Countries

December 17, 2018

We’ve been sent the following from Dr Wieke de Neef:

I would like to draw your attention to the first English-language symposium on the History of Mediterranean Archaeology in the Low Countries, to be held 8 March 2019 at the State Museum of Antiquities in Leiden (the Netherlands). 

The symposium will be held on occasion of the 30th anniversary of Tijdschrift voor Mediterrane Archeologie (TMA), a Dutch-language journal edited by student of the University of Groningen. The 30th anniversary is marked by a special edition on the history of Mediterranean archaeology in the Netherlands and Belgium. The publication of the special edition will be accompanied by the English-language symposium in Leiden, where we hope to meet an international audience.

The symposium is organized by Platform Argos, a recently founded group of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers with an interest in the history of our discipline.

First symposium on
The History of Mediterranean Archaeology in the Low Countries

8 March 2019 – Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden

Dutch and Belgian archaeologists started fieldwork in the Mediterranean almost a century after Caspar Reuvens became the first archaeology professor and active excavator in the Netherlands. Carl Vollgraff worked in Greece (Argos, Thessaly) from 1902 onwards and in 1905 Jean Capart initiated excavations in Egypt (Sakkara). Only decades later did Mediterranean fieldwork become part of the academic curriculum, in addition to traditional collection studies. By the 1960’s, the field had developed from a few courses on Classical Art into an independent academic discipline, with a dozen university chairs of Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology all over the Low Countries.
This brief overview sparks a range of questions. How did Mediterranean Archaeology develop as an academic discipline in the Netherlands and Belgium? Who were the key players, where did they work, what did they investigate? What were the most important intellectual and methodological currents? How was the archaeology of the Mediterranean related to other disciplines in the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences? What were the similarities and differences in approach and narrative between the Low Countries and their neighbours? What were the differences in research focus and approaches between the Netherlands and Belgium?

This English-language symposium intends to address these questions by bringing together research on the history of archaeology as practiced in the Low Countries in the 19th and 20th centuries. We welcome abstracts from all scholars interested in and working on one of the following topics:
Histories of fieldwork:

  • Reflection on projects: how, why, when did archaeological research projects in the Mediterranean begin? What kind of questions were pivotal at the time? Which method was used, inspired by whom? How did they end?
    Microhistories of fieldwork
    Histories of local perspectives on fieldwork
    Histories of policy around fieldwork (project policies; local politics; university/education policies etc.)
    Alternative fieldwork histories through the lens of methods, techniques, instruments, daily practices or local environments
    Biographies of fieldwork archaeologists (i.e. critical/reflective, non-hagiographic)
    Cultural and social contexts of archaeological projects

Histories of networks:

  • Emergence of archaeological study and museum collections
    Relations with the international archaeological field
    Emergence and disappearance of university chairs

Histories of thought and practice:

  • Histories of theoretical and methodological approaches
    Histories of archaeology (theory, method, narrative) in relation to other disciplines from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences
    Theoretical and methodological frameworks of individual archaeologists
    The shift from visual analysis of study collections at home to field experience abroad
    The shift from classical to Mediterranean archaeology
    Currents of thought and their relation to dominant international currents
    Currents of thought and their relation to archaeology as practiced in the countries of study


Please send a title and abstract of 150 words with your name and affiliation to: The deadline for sending in abstracts is the 15th of January 2019. We especially encourage early career researchers to apply.

Poster session
A poster session will be held during the symposium. Please let us know before the 1st of March if you wish to bring a poster.

Date & Place
The symposium takes place in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Leemanszaal) in Leiden on the 8th of March 2019.

The organisation plans to publish the presented papers as a special issue of an international journal, for instance the peer-reviewed Bulletin of the History of Archaeology.

The symposium is organised on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of TMA, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology for the Netherlands and Flanders. Co-organisers are Platform Argos and Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. Platform Argos, initiated in 2016, aims at the historical study of Mediterranean archaeology as practiced by Dutch and Flemish archaeologists, projects, universities and museums ( Rijksmuseum van Oudheden is the national archaeological museum of the Netherlands. The symposium is financially supported by ARCHON, the Dutch inter-university graduate school for Archaeology

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