Sessions and Keynotes

Session Overview

Session organisers: Constance von Rüden, Majia Gori  
Keynotes: Trevor Marchand (SOAS University of London) & Maikel Kuijpers (Universiteit Leiden)
Keywords: craft, embodiment, skill, technical practices, resources

If we understand resources as socially produced constructs, knowledge and its transmission represent a key aspect in approaching the relationship between resources and societies. Indeed, knowledge is relevant in almost every aspect of a community: it is not only central for its subsistence economy and the appropriation of raw materials and thus for the survival of the community, it is also necessary for their contestant social cohesion. Of course, many aspects of a group’s knowledge are not visible in the archaeological record, but the knowledge inherent in crafts is well-reflected thorough its materiality. Raw materials, tools, unfinished and finished goods allow insights into the skill of a craftsperson (Ingold 2011, 2013). They reflect his or her choices and social needs, as well as the habitualized activities guided by tacit knowledge. Beyond this, learning or the appropriation of techniques and their involved skills from one generation to the next or from one group to another is a crucial aspect for the spread of such resource knowledge. Next to embodiment and the materiality of the things involved, this spread of knowledge is also driven by cultural choices and the people’s socio-cultural identity.
The session aims to bring together researchers interested in the reconstruction of the resource “technical knowledge” by material remains and aims to address how such a resource can be spatially and temporally spread.

Session organisers: Thomas Stöllner, Peter Thomas, Yiu-Kang Hsu 
Keynotes: Timothy LeCain (Montana State University) & Nils Anfinset (University Museum of Bergen )
Keywords: daily practices and routines in landscapes, life worlds, knowledge, resources  

What “resourcers” (resource-suppliers) perceived as relevant for their decisions is a key issue in understanding how resource-landscapes and specialized activities involving (mineral) resources has evolved in ancient societies. The decision - if a resource was worth exploiting, or if a landscape was considered appropriate to start an enterprise - has to do with the level of knowledge, world-views and expectations of the people involved. Normally the material evidence of production sites does not provide many clues about basic life-world-concepts. However, we consider practices, which left their mark in the landscape, as one hint for the reconstruction of at least aspects of such basic perceptions, might they have been driven by social, economic or ritual/religious ideas and experiences. Ethnographic accounts tell us about the importance of experiences on structure and perceived causalities that decide the way of doing and constructing a life-practice. This session is dedicated to the discussion of such interdependencies on the basis of the theoretical models and special observations that ethnographers, archaeologists, sociologists made within their empirical studies, whose datasets often seemed illogical at first.

Session organisers: Michael Roos, Frederik SchaffFrank Hillebrandt 
Keynotes: Iza Romanowska (Barcelona Supercomputing Center) & Angelos Chliaoutakis (Technical University of Crete)
Keywords: Complexity, Resources, Modelling 

In this session, we want to explore methodological approaches that deal with the complexity of high-level archaeological questions by taking a resource-based view. Under a high-level question, we understand a question that deals most comprehensively with human behaviour in its specific spatiotemporal context. More concretely, we do not want to focus on a single aspect of the archaeological record for a given region and time, but want to understand the dynamics of the past society in a given geographical area over a long time span (typically several hundred years).
A particularly interesting approach to such issues is to build formal, data calibrated simulation models with artificial societies populating an artificial world. However, inevitably one encounters a huge ‘lack of data’, especially when it comes to modelling human behaviour. Hence, ethnographic and anthropological work that aims at detailed descriptions of daily life and decision processes in past societies, likely providing more than one hypothesis, is a crucial part of such a discussion.
Furthermore, we recognise that the availability of resources, be it material or culturally produced and accumulated, is an important aspect when trying to understand such higher order questions. The distribution and availability of resources (including, e.g., knowledge) structures and limits the potential activities of the humans that lived in the specific spatiotemporal context. Taking a resource-based view is thus most helpful in selecting the elements in the model or making inevitable assumptions on past human societies, be it individual behaviour or social processes.

Related to any session or the overall topic. All manners of research methods are acceptable. Open questions or research proposals that will stimulate a lively discussion are also possible in this slot!

Related to any session or the overall topic. All manners of research methods are acceptable. Open questions or research proposals that will stimulate a lively discussion are also possible in this slot!
There will be a best-poster award for young academics.

Session Keynotes

Materials and skills in the history of knowledge: A Bronze Age example

Maikel Kuijpers (Universiteit Leiden)
Session A: Skill, Embodiment and the Growth of Knowledge

Boat-building, experimental archaeology and the indispensability of hands-on know-how

Trevor Marchand (School of Oriental and African Studies)
Session A: Skill, Embodiment and the Growth of Knowledge

Relational resources and landscapes: Modes of perception

Nils Anfinset (University Museum of Bergen)
Session B: Life Worlds in Resource Landscapes

Resources as life worlds: How do material resources shape lives and minds?

Timothy LeCain (Montana State University)

Session B: Life Worlds in Resource Landscapes


Iza Romanowska (Barcelona Supercomputing Center)

Session C: Resources and Complex Systems

Methodological approaches towards simulation and modeling social organization of past societies 

Angelos Chliaoutakis (Technical University of Crete)

Session C: Resources and Complex Systems

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