“Island, mainland, coastland & hinterland: ceramic perspectives on connectivity in the ancient Mediterranean”

Netherlands, University of Amsterdam, 1-2nd February 2013

Deadline for abstracts submission: 30 November 2012

The geographical or topographical setting of archaeological sites is often acknowledged as an important factor in their significance or role within the cultural landscape. But to what extent do categories such as ‘island’, ‘coastland’, ‘mainland’ or ‘hinterland’ influence our ideas on the dynamics of ancient communities? Are communities on islands inherently more connected than those with mainland settings? Does geographical isolation equate to cultural insularity? Although we acknowledge that multiple categories of evidence play major roles in creating networks of interactions, this conference will explore the relationship between physical setting and connectivity by primarily focusing on the study of ceramic assemblages.

We propose that characterizing ceramic assemblages with respect to activities such as production, distribution and consumption, provides us with a unique insight to the behaviours and interactions of particular communities across mutliple scales. For example, the identification of ceramic imports has long been the primary indicator for identifying connections between different sites and regions. Yet this has fostered a presence/absence diagnosis for contact between different communities. We argue that the nature of connections – the number, length, strength and direction of interactions – has rarely been used for characterising past connectivity, though a few recent approaches, such as the study of ceramic ‘hybrids’, post-colonial perspectives and network analysis, are now beginning to offer more powerful and complex means of considering past interactions.

Conference themes

This conference welcomes PhD, early career and established scholars working on dynamic interactions within the ancient Mediterranean, from prehistory to the Roman Imperial period. The Organizing Committee invites theoretically informed papers embracing the following themes (but not restricted to):

-the relationship between geographical setting, ceramic assemblages and degree of connectivity between different communities;

-the role geographical and/or socio-political entities such as ‘hinterland’ or ‘colony’ play in interpreting ceramic assemblages;

-how can we interpret stylistic or technological ceramic ‘hybrids’ with respect to the movement of people, artefacts and ideas?

-can we identify in the ceramic record deliberate participation within or rejection/resistance to wider socio-cultural phenomena?

Abstracts (up to 250 words) should be emaild to [email protected]

For registration and more information: http://npap.nl