Late Antique Archaeology: Imperial Archaeologies 2

LAA 2019 Spring Programme8th June 2019, co-organised with Luke Lavan (University of Kent)

This was the final session of four in the long-running ‘Late Antique Archaeology‘ series, which it has been my pleasure to co-organise with Luke at Birkbeck. This was a thought-provoking conference, which returned throughout its papers to the theme of how archaeology might contribute to new narratives, either alongside or separately from textual sources. Highlights for me included:

  • a wonderful paper by Paolo Liverani, whose work on spoliation I’ve returned to time and again.
  • Nikos Karydis‘s presentation on Diocletian’s domed mausoleum in Split, both for its careful reading of local techniques into a building constructed to an empire-wide aesthetic, and for his unfailing ability to make complex architectural problems comprehensible and historically meaningful for my spatially-challenged self!
  • Corisande Fenwick‘s paper on the archaeology of the reimposition of Byzantine rule in North Africa, and the reminder that empire is rarely an eirenic project.

These were personal favourites in a day of great papers, though, and I came away feeling curious and informed, and wondering how one might use frameworks of imperial archaeology to pose new questions to the spaces that were beyond the scope of pre-modern imperial control, such as the western Indian Ocean…

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