Dispelling Shadows: Light, Built Spaces, and Archaeological Practices

Call for papers for the International Conference

Dispelling Shadows
Light, Built Spaces, and Archaeological Practices

Dates: 28-29 October  2019

Location: Departamento de Historia del Arte. Facultad de Geografía e Historia. Universidad de Sevilla. C/ María de Padilla s/n. 41004. Sevilla. Spain.

General Coordinator: Pedro Luengo. Universidad de Sevilla (Spain).


  • Lambros T. Doulos. National Technical University of Athens. Greece.
  • Dorina Moullou. Ministry of Culture and Sports. Greece
  • Costas Papadopoulos. Maastricht University. Netherlands.
  • Rebeka Vital. Shenkar. Engineering. Design. Arts, Israel.


  • ARKWORK. Cost Action CA15201. Archaeological practices and knowledge work in the digital environment.
  • Universidad de Sevilla (Spain)


Light, both natural and artificial, as an element of past lives and practices, has been considered within a broad spatial and temporal frame, including European architecture from the 13th to the 18th century, prehistoric cave art, Egyptian temples, Mesopotamian domestic spaces, Byzantine churches, working environments and dwellings of classical antiquity, Inuit domestic spaces, industrial buildings, and Chacoan landscapes. However, it still remains an under-researched aspect of archaeological practices due to the insufficiency of existing methods to provide a concrete way of dealing with complex, intangible, and often ambiguous data.

Experimental and experiential approaches, e.g. ethnography, experimental archaeology, anthropology, provide the means to problematise how light influenced the use and perception of diverse environments. However, in an attempt to develop a more nuanced understanding of how people in different periods, from prehistory to modern times, have experienced, perceived, and used their environments, scholars from different disciplines have increasingly started using and developing analytical tools that have the potential to develop a novel theoretical and methodological framework to approach natural and flame illumination.

The conference aims to bring together scholars and practitioners working across fields and disciplines to discuss recent development in tools, methods, theories, and technologies to deal with light in archaeological and heritage environments. In this respect, the conference will not deal with particular case studies but with broader theoretical, technical, and methodological considerations of the topic. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:      

  • How is light currently considered in archaeological knowledge work? Is it an aesthetic factor, a theoretical framework and/or a methodological approach?
  • How archaeological practices and knowledge work relating to light could be informed by analytical frameworks in adjacent fields such as architectural history, art history, and digital humanities?
  • How a better understanding of light in the context of archaeological knowledge production can inform the work and practice of curators, heritage managers and associated professions, and improve the perception, understanding, and presentation of heritage sites?


Special Issue: The organisers intend to  publish selected, peer-reviewed papers of the conference in a special journal issue related to the state-of-the-art in interdisciplinary archaeological practices related to light.

Whitepaper: During the conference, participants will also co-author a whitepaper about digital approaches to lighting studies in archaeology and beyond, exploring current challenges and potential futures.

Invited Speakers

  • Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, University of Princeton (USA), teaches and publishes on European art and architecture 1500–1800 in its global context, the theory and practice of world art history, and the geography and historiography of art. His talk will address the role of light in the history of architecture.
  • Eva Bosch is a painter, lecturer in the history of art, and a researcher into prehistoric art. She has experimented with and studied the experience and perception of sound, light and shadow, in several archaeological sites, including Catalhöyük and Asikli Hoyuk, Turkey. In her talk she will discuss experimental and experiential approaches to light, including her installation inspired by the journey of the light inside the experimental houses at Asikli Hoyuk.
  • Javier Ibáñez, Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain), teaches and publishes on Spanish architecture from Late Gothic to Early Modern Period. His talk will particularly examine light in this period.


Proposals should be original, not submitted for consideration to another conference, or under review for publication and should be a significant contribution to the topic.

They must be sent to [email protected] by June 10th 2019, including:

  • Title
  • Author Name(s)
  • Institutional affiliations and addresses, including email and contact number
  • Keywords (5-10)
  • Abstract (1000 – 1500 words, divided into Introduction, Background/Context, Methodology, Analysis/Discussion, Conclusion)
  • References

All the proposals will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee and the results will be communicated to the authors by August 1st 2019.

  • Presentations will be a maximum of 15 minutes followed by questions and a panel discussion. All accepted presentations can be submitted for consideration to be included in the final publication. All submitted papers will undergo a blind peer-reviewing process.
  • Final texts must be sent by November 30th 2019, to dispellingshadows{[at]}gmail.com, following the APA referencing style. Texts should be in English, not exceeding 5000 words (including up to 7 figures). Further details on the publication process will be communicated to presenters closer to the time of the conference.  

Important dates

  • Deadline for submission of abstracts: 10 June 2019
  • Acceptance notification: 1 August 2019
  • Deadline for final papers: 1 January 2020