Call For Papers – Archaeology and Politic


Location : Athénée Municipal de Bordeaux, Tuesday 26th October 2010 Organised by the Icronos and Kineon associations (under the patronage of Archaeology in Contemporary Europe) Deadline for submission : 15th of March

The links between archaeology and politics are a topical subject given the important role they played in the history of our cultures and civilizations However, although they are sometimes accounted for the media, they often prompt misinformed comments.

This topic, which is commonplace today, can be tackled in two different ways. On the one hand, we can see in ancient and recent History – and even in very recent events – that political powers, as well as nationalist movements, have tried and are still trying to use archaeology to justify their most questionable ideologies, sometimes resorting to poor forgeries or seeking the support of “politically committed” – or at least undiscerning – archaeologists. On the other hand, the rightful search for archaeological remains, as well as their protection and preservation, have obviously become political issues. Indeed, the phrase “political issues” does not refer to the party rivalries that they sometimes induce, but to its original meaning, that is to say that they concern every citizen. They belong to the list of burning questions that must now be taken into account by public officials, whether they are acting at national, international or even global level, along with the protection of the environment and the issue of town and country planning.

The ICRONOS association found the second definition particularly interesting. Of course, conflicts and historical collusions are also worthy of interest – and we expect some papers to deal with this topic -, however we felt that such a symposium should consider concrete situations of today’s world (such as political assessments, controversial issues, specific actions) at different levels of responsibility and decision making. Our goal is to inform an audience who claim to be more and more concerned with preserving our heritage, to provide them with keys to understand this matter and to open new perspectives on some significant debates and large companies by offering lectures about current events, and about the structures that oversee archaeological research and preservation, at every level and in various situations, in Europe and around the world.

For these reasons, we propose the following one-day program:

A. Political intervention in archaeological research and the use of archaeological data in politics: Historical examples.

The Proceedings of the Luxembourg Symposium (November 16-18, 2005) have recently gathered numerous studies about various attempts to exploit archaeology for ideological purposes in Europe. Can archaeologists preserve the scientific quality of their work while protecting it from the surrounding political pressure? How can they prevent their findings from being twisted to the advantage of some ideology?

B. Management and preservation of the archaeological heritage The interactions between the programs and objectives of the supranational organizations and those of national or local authorities regarding the directing of archaeological research constitute a broad topic. Beyond a descriptive analysis of the actions of each institution, it is important to show how these actions reflect precise political choices.

1- The policy and “tools” of UNESCO concerning the museums and cultural objects of archaeology (the fight against the traffic of archaeological furniture and its current results) This topic may be studied in the scope of the history of UNESCO and more precisely through the current policy in the medium term of this institution (2008-2013)

2. Analysis of an experience: the policy of the European Council towards archaeology and the risks threatening the sites and the excavated documents. What is the contribution of the European Heritage Network (HEREIN) in these two domains?

3. The action of a European region: the preservation and study of the archaeological heritage policy is often primarily held at a regional level. Can some recent examples be found?

4. The French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP): the experience of INRAP seems to be an incomparable supply of examples to illustrate the issues retained for this Symposium.

C. The promotion of research in Archaeology (programming and financing channels).

1. European Commission policy in dealing with the cultural heritage, and archaeology in particular. The acknowledgement of the competences of the European Union in the cultural field in 1992, the Planarch 1, Planarch 2, APPEAR or ACE projects, then the AREA research network it has since supported are essential steps for the definition of a European policy dedicated to archaeology. They go hand in hand with the creation of structures gathering together the archaeologists themselves: the European Association of Archaeologists and the Europae Archaeologiae Consilium. An inventory of the proposed goals should be done: harmonization of practices (legal, administrative, scientific), reinforcement of exchanges (methodologies, management and conservation methods) and valorization of data (publications, exhibitions) according to the inventory drawn up by ICOMOS in 2006. Are we moving towards a common heritage policy?

2. The French (AERES, ANR) and European research programs. Like in any other research domain, finding funds – available or needing to be raised – is an increasingly delicate issue when choosing archaeological research strategies. Is it possible – taking as examples the two Agencies recently set up in France for the assessment and funding of research programs – to make an inventory on a European level?

This program is not definitive: other lines and issues can be suggested.

Practical arrangements:
Abstracts for communication (200 words) are to be sent before 15th March 2010 to the Icronos association: icronos@wanadoo.fr and/or Kineon : info@kineon.be
Notification to the authors: 31st March 2010 Full text: 15th June 2010
Duration of a communication: 30 minutes
Languages: French and English