Session of the study group Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages: Narrating Early Medieval Archaeology"
25th to 29th September 2023 in Tübingen, Germany. Contributions are accepted until 30th April 2023.
A session at the joint conference of WSVA and MOVA.
How do we convey the archaeology of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages? Which stories dominate – and which don’t? Why? Who decides? Which aspects become mainstream – which remain hidden?
It is common knowledge that powerful narratives precede the creation and conveyance of scientific contents. Early medieval archaeology is rife with such storylines: On individual social roles, entire peoples and migrations, violence and decline, Christianity and Paganism. Up until now these have all been feeding into the grand narrative of the Dark Ages. Research is increasingly focusing on and reflecting narratives, questioning the potential of archaeological sources and research data, examining literature, interrogating exhibitions as well as other forms of communication and reception. It becomes clear that the role of storytelling is much larger that generally accepted, that it influences research and its reception more than we perceive, and that the reflection of narratives may sometimes be overlooked when reviewing sources or methodology.
When things are transferred – put into language – the key role of narratives becomes particularly clear: From idea to research proposal. From excavated structure to interpretation. From scientific data sets to conclusions. From science paper to exhibition and catalogue. From archaeological to popular media – and further into societal and political discourse.
These ‘transferals’ seldom go by without friction and corresponding friction losses. They pose challenges to the persons involved, consciously, or subconsciously. Therefore, the construction, mediation and dissemination of narratives – covering knowledge production, scientific literature, public outreach and popular media – is an important and urgent topic for early medieval archaeology. The same is true for the question of incorporating narratives from other subjects into archaeology (and vice versa).
During two days between the 25th and 29th September 2023, this year’s meeting of the study group Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages (AGSFM) will give room to these issues. The session will be a forum for new results or projects on these topics. Equally, we strive to identify and discuss related challenges, problems and questions.
We welcome contributions in German and English. The length of your presentation should not exceed 20 minutes. Proposals for papers with a half-page written summary are requested by
30th April 2023
Please also inform colleagues who may not have been contacted or invited directly by us. Please note that the study group cannot pay for travel or accommodation costs. Participants are therefore kindly asked to cover their own expenses and to register for the conference.
Margaux Depaermentier, M.A., Dr. Michaela Helmbrecht, Dr. Christoph Lobinger,
Dr. Roland Prien, Mag. Dr. Bendeguz Tobias (advisory board), Dr. Anna Flückiger (speaker)