MIND THE GAP. Absence, invisibility and emptiness in the interpretation of archaeological and landscape evidence
AN INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR AND DEBATE
22-24 APRIL 2013, CERTOSA DI PONTIGNANO, SIENA, ITALY
2 1/2 days of discussion plus optional 1/2 day visit to Siena
Data collection and archaeological interpretation are complicated by apparent gaps in the evidence, whether in excavation, geophysical prospection, remote sensing, field survey, environmental analysis or artefact studies.
How can we tell whether such "gaps' represents an absence of evidence, a failure to see evidence that is potentially available, the removal of evidence that was once present or a real gap in the activity or sequence that we are studying?
To what extent can we cope with such uncertainties when moving from data assembly to realistic archaeological interpretation?
Ambiguities of this kind are inherent in archaeology as a study based on the observation of material evidence. The seminar will explore these challenges through discussion between a dozen argumentative speakers and thirty or so interested students, teachers, researchers and practitioners, both at the initial seminar and in web-based discussion afterwards.
Subjects covered included aspects of excavation, field survey, geophysical prospection, aerial survey, landscape interpretation, environmental reconstruction and the use of numismatic evidence.
OPENING SESSION - Welcome, announcements, brief introductions by Stefano Campana, Dominic Powlesland, Chris Musson
DOMINIC POWLESLAND, Landscape Research Centre and University of Cambridge, UK - Mind the Gap: emptiness and empty-heads in the study of past landscapes
STEFANO CAMPANA, University of Siena - Emptiness in archaeology and the code of silence
DARJA GROSMAN (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) - Hidden in stone, mud and water
ROG PALMER (freelance air-photo interpreter, UK) - Why are there holes in aerial data? And do we need a typology of gaps?
DAVE COWLEY (RCAHMS, UK) - How big a gap? Some thoughts on scale, emptiness and bias
FRANK VERMUELEN (University of Ghent, Belgium) - Surveying an Adriatic valley: from meaningless dots to meaningful gaps
EZRA ZUBROW (University of Buffalo, USA) - Measuring Emptiness
MARK EDMONDS (University of York, UK) - Necessary spaces: real and imagined emptiness in Later Prehistory
JOHN CASEY (Independent archaeologist and numismatist, UK) - When the money is missing: case studies in the constructive use of numismatic evidence
MICHAEL VINTER (Moesgaard Museum, Denmark) - Filling up emptiness: is everything lost and gone forever or can we close the gaps?
MICHAEL TEICHMANN (German Archaeological Institute, Rome) - Landscape interpretation in Roman south-western Lazio, Italy (temporary title)
JAMES RACKHAM (Environmental archaeologist, University of Nottingham, UK) - So few pieces of the jigsaw! Just how good can our landscape and palaeoeconomic reconstructions be?
WLODEK RĄCSKOWSKI (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland) - The gap trap: stereotype and/or cognitive category
GIOVANNA PIZZIOLO, LUCIA SARTI, NICOLETTA VOLANTE (University of Siena, Italy) - Reliable gaps in prehistoric landscapes: steps towards an encouraging agenda?
ROSE FERRABY (University of Exeter, UK) - Drawing out the gaps: Using images to explore absence in the landscape
The main focus of the event was on the discussion after each presentation which will be an important aspect of the next conference/seminar of that kind which will be organised preferably in 2015.
The seminar forms part of the ArchaeoLandscapes Europe Project within the Culture Programme of the European Union, managed in this case by the Roman-Germanic Commission of the German Archaeological Institute in Frankfurt.The event is being organized by Stefano Campana of the Laboratory of Landscape Archaeology and Remote Sensing (LAP&T), University of Siena, in partnership with Chris Musson and Prof Dominic Powlesland of the Landscape Research Centre in the UK.