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/