CfP: Demography, migration, interaction: new archaeological narratives for the past and the present ; Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Session #5: Demography, migration, interaction: new archaeological narratives for the past and the present

Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference, UCL Institute of Archaeology, London, 16-18 December 2019

Session organised by:

Ana Catarina Vital (UCL Institute of Archaeology,

Gwendoline Maurer (UCL Institute of Archaeology,

Colin Sterling (UCL Institute of Archaeology,

Recent years have seen an increase in political narratives and propaganda focused on boundaries, borders and walls, primarily based on a mentality of ‘us’ versus ‘them’. This rhetoric often makes use of archaeological data to support essentialist claims about populations and identity in the past and the present. At the same time, contemporary archaeological research has seen a resurgence of studies into prehistoric demography, driven by cross-disciplinary methods and techniques. Looking closely at issues of human migration and cross-cultural interaction across time and space, this session aims to highlight both the value of archaeology as a tool for challenging current attitudes towards migrants, and the ethics of undertaking research that may be used to support nativist claims. To this end, the session invites papers that develop new archaeological narratives on co-existence, co-operation, conflict and/or exchange between different communities, thus demonstrating the significance of cross-cultural interaction to the human condition, as well as the long term benefits of hybrid or ‘mixed’ communities. These narratives should however be placed firmly in the current socio-political context. What are the contemporary implications and entanglements of archaeological research focused on questions of demography, migration, and interaction? To enable this dialogue, we particularly welcome papers that approach these issues through a broad array of archaeological methods, including archaeological sciences (zooarchaeology, geoarchaeology, archaeobotany, osteoarchaeology), material culture studies (ceramics, lithics and metallurgy), and anthropological studies. We seek to discuss these topics from a broad temporal and geographical perspective, covering examples from the Palaeolithic to the Modern era, and from a diverse array of regions around the Globe. We particularly seek case studies from the Americas, Africa, Middle East, Asia, and Oceania.

We encourage early career researchers, women and minorities to apply.

Keywords: Cross-cultural interaction, Human migration, Diaspora, Populism


Format: Combination of standard paper session and panel debate. 7 papers max with extended time for responses and discussion.