Posted by: Johan Normark | January 14, 2013

Preliminary schedule for Urban Variation

Here is a link to the preliminary schedule for the conference Urban Variation at the University of Gothenburg.


  1. I was struck by the title of one of the presentations: “The role of the built environment in negotiating social relations in Bronze Age Crete”.

    I have a hard time even imaging the years of labor, both physical and intellectual, that were needed to advance humankind’s knowledge of that time and place to the point where such a subject could be usefully discussed!

    I assume that the same holds true for all of the other presentations, even though their titles didn’t make that as apparent to a layman’s eyes.

  2. I assume it involves the detection of activity areas within and outside buildings (areas for cooking, toolmaking, sleeping, etc.) and find ways to detect who made what at these locations (women, men, young, old, elite, commoner, ethnic group, etc.).

    • I know how busy you are, so you needn’t reply. I just wanted to say that your blog has added to the great respect I already had for archaeologists.

      The physical sciences (my own area) can be hard enough, but at least the Universe “plays fair” with us. In contrast, it seems to try to frustrate archaeologists at every turn: a few tall, prodigiously pollinating trees could distort the pollen record of biomes dominated by low-lying vegetation that pollinated in miserly quantities; ancient civilizations’ greatest minds recorded their ideas on erodable rocks or media easily set aflame by religous fanatics; and people rebuilt cities without giving the least consideration to archaeologists who’d want to study the region 500 years later.

      As if that weren’t enough, there’s the problem of how archaeologists could come to agreement on standards for what sort of evidence is sufficient for what kinds of conclusions. That must be an interesting story in itself.

      • Thanks. Archaeology as a discipline is best, in my view, when it does not try to understand ancient people’s mind. That we can seldom know anything about. What we do get in the archaeological record is a combination of ancient people’s activities and “natural” formation processes (erosion, fire, etc.). Thus, to me, archaeology is not a subdiscipline of anthropology. Even that archaeologists disagree on. When I hear a 2012er talk about “mainstream archaeology” I cannot but smile since that person clearly lack any insight whatsoever of the great variety that exists within this discipline.


%d bloggers like this: