Dispelling Shadows: Light, Built Spaces, and Archaeological Practices

Conference report by Pedro Luengo

On February 20th 2020, the Universidad de Sevilla (Spain), thanks to the support of COST Action CA15201 Archaeological practices and knowledge work in the digital environment, organised a conference on how light analysis have been gradually incorporated to archaeological studies.

Under the title "Dispelling Shadows: Light, Built Spaces, and Archaeological Practices" scholars from Greece, Israel, Spain and Portugal presented their different perspectives on this topic from a multidisciplinary approach. The presenters included architects, archaeologists, art historians, or engineers.

First, the presenters discussed about how digital tools allow now to analyse the ancient management of both sun and artificial light. This is important to better understand historical space and the functions of pieces such as lamps or candles. From this perspective, aesthetic questions such as how the interior lighting evolved, or which kind of activities were developed under such circumstances can be addressed, including an intangible aspect on heritage analysis. Second, light is also a tool for heritage enhancement.

On one hand, monuments are being reshaped by artificial lights giving them a new (touristic) meaning. Only in some cases designers have shown their concern on how this can be used to give a better explanation on the historical or artistic features of the structure. In addition to these aspects, sustainability as a wide term is gaining attention. Proposing sustainable solutions from a environmental perspective seems obvious under current circumstances, but also the concept of sustainable tourism is relevant here. While the monuments might promote a spectacular image of the city, this must be done as part of a process of promotion on local societies.

Archaeological remains must be first part of current societies, and as a consequence, a touristic attraction. Finally, heritage lighting also affects museum displays since they have to balance historical explanation with current accessibility requirements. As conclusion, the importance of a scientific and multidisciplinary approach to light in archaeology was reinforced. Previous initiatives, mainly based on personal taste, must be turned to deeper proposals which underline both preserved heritage and its intangible features.


Call for submissions: COST-ARKWORK Final Conference

After four years of intensive work, COST-ARKWORK invites participants to a final conference on Sept 2-3, 2020 in Zagreb, Croatia. The programme consists of keynote lectures, showcasing of the work conducted in the network, an half-day industry forum for practitioners relating focussing on the impact of artificial intelligence and big data on archaeological practices, and an open forum for presentations of work related to archaeological practices and knowoldge work in the digital environment.

As a part of the final conference, COST-ARKWORK network organises an open session for short presentations of work related to archaeological practices and knowledge work in the digital environment. Call for papers for the session is open at https://www.arkwork.eu/activity/final-conference/

Update April 13, 2020: The conference organisers are aware of the current situation relating to the global pandemic. As of today, COST-ARKWORK is committed to organising the conference as planned in September. The situation will be evaluated on July 15 and if necessary, by that date decisions will be made on any special arrangements that will be necessary to help all accepted authors and other participants to attend the meeting and present their work -- including arrangements to present even if attending a conference in person in Zagreb would not be an option because of travel restrictions.


Call for Papers: On shifting grounds – the study of archaeological practices in a changing world

COST-ARKWORK is organising a conference On shifting grounds – the study of archaeological practices in a changing world in Oct 3-5, 2019 in Rethymno, Crete, Greece on the impact of the changes in the circumstances of the practices of archaeology on the methods used for studying those practices

Call for papers to the conference with a deadline on April 1, 2019 can be found at https://www.arkwork.eu/activity/on-shifting-grounds/


COST-ARKWORK at EUROMED2018

COST-ARKWORK is participating at the COST workshop How to overcome the fragmentation in Cultural Heritage research and funding in the context of Horizon Europe?at the 2018 EUROMED conference in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Also Agnieszka Kaliszewska, a COST-ARKWORK ITC grantee from the Polish Academy of Sciences is presenting at the conference a paper Non-invasive Investigation and Documentation in the Bieliński Palace in Otwock Wielkidiscussing and reflecting archaeological practices and knowledge work at the Bieliński Palace site in Poland in her presentation.


25 trainees at COST-ARKWORK Training School in Sarajevo

The WG2 training school took place between 17-21st September, 2018 in Sarajevo. The training school was hosted and organized by Meliha Handzic in cooperation with WG2 leader Gisli Palsson (pictured) at the International Burch University, and included trainers and guest speakers recruited both locally and across Europe. The programme took a broad approach to the issues at stake in managing archaeological datasets. Furthermore, one trainer coached the attendees specifically in how to prepare project proposals, building on projects that attendees had ongoing.

 

Invited scholars from the COST Action, as well as from Bosnia’s heritage and archaeological communities presented case studies reflecting on insights and experience gained in digital documentation and curation practices. These case studies were supplemented by hands-on workshops aimed at developing practical skills, including training in topic modelling, metadata analysis, PostGIS data storage and spatial analysis, and statistical analysis using R. As the week progressed, trainees were introduced to more theoretical perspectives on the social and political contexts in which archaeological knowledge is produced, with a keynote lecture by Prof. Isto Huvila and a discussion panel between all of the trainers. Field trips throughout the week offered students the opportunity to understand Sarajevo’s complex history and pivotal geopolitical role, and an opportunity to see many of the issues discussed in the classroom applied to present-day museological practice.
Written by Gísli Palsson

Core Group Meeting in Turku in Finland

COST-ARKWORK Core Group held a two-day meeting in Turku (Åbo), Finland on Oct 4-5, 2018 with a focus on a status and progress report after two years of activities and planning of future activities within the Action. The Core Group was glad to see that the Action is running well and a lot of progress has been made to reach the objectives of the action even if there is a lot of work left for the next two years and beyond. During the next two years, ARKWORK will be organising a series of  industry forums, the first one focusing on contract archaeology being scheduled to January 2019, conferences and workshops, and two more training schools. There are also plenty of opportunities for research exchange within the ARKWORK STSM mechanism for the current and future members of the Action.


STSM opportunities in ARKWORK

As a researcher or professional, you are encouraged to propose your own short-term scientific mission to get training at an institution in a COST-ARKWORK participating country, which is not your current country of residence. On this page you will find selected opportunities for STSMs but in addition to those listed, you are encouraged to approach any relevant institutions and apply for funding to complete your own STSM that advances the aims of ARKWORK. This list will be updated when new opportunities are proposed.

Opportunities at institutions in ARKWORK network

Department of ALM, Uppsala University

Field of expertise: Empirical methods of studying archaeological information work, knowledge production, information management and knowledge organisation including action research, interviewing, participatory observation and document studies.

Description: The research conducted at the Department of ALM of Uppsala University brings together perspectives from archival studies, information studies and museum and cultural heritage studies. The unique aspect of research in Uppsala is that it nurtures an interdisciplinary interest in information and knowledge infrastructures, collections and societal memory from the vantage point of the changing premises, patterns and practices of their making, organisation, management and use from historical and contemporary perspectives. The contexts and topics of research range from institutions to individuals, from historical to contemporary, analogue to digital, professional to participatory, work to play, making to mediating and from competences to the policies of regulating them in the society. Uppsala University Museum Gustavianum does also host  considerable archaeological collections and there are regional and national collections and institutions both in Uppsala and close to us in Stockholm.

Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Website: www.abm.uu.se

Contact: Prof. Isto Huvila, Uppsala University

Multi-site projects

Finds databases

Study on finds databases for non-professional archaeological discoveries (including but not exclusively metal detectorists), including commonalities, making recommendations for better coordination of efforts, weaknesses, etc.

If interest to take this forward, ST will discuss with finds database coordinators to see if hosting possible. Perhaps coordinated number of STSM researchers at different locations but working together.

Possible locations: Possible several corresponding researchers going to different sites where databases existing or in development: Århus, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, British Museum.

Contact: Dr. Suzie Thomas, University of Helsinki


COST-ARKWORK meeting in Vilnius

Photo by Rimvydas LauzikasCOST-ARKWORK is organising a joint meeting of all working groups, exploratory workshops for WG3 and WG4 for mapping the issues pertaining to the topics of these two groups, and a management committee meeting for the action in Vilnius, Lithuania. The event is hosted by the Faculty of Communication, Vilnius University.

Meeting in social media

Keynote presentations