11th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East
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Sections and themes

The sections and themes of 11th ICAANE:

1. Mobility in the Ancient Near East

Mobility is a driving motor for the exchange of ideas, technology and values. What and who is moving or has been moved can be investigated by the archaeological analysis of objects in their contexts as well as by multi-disciplinary methods such as genetic or isotopic analyses of bones.
Mobility and materiality are inevitably linked with one another by the nature of preservation in archaeological contexts and the possibility to reconstruct expressions of cultures and identities, status or economic ways of life.

2. Images in Context

The Ancient Near Eastern past is perceived by the public especially through the objects, which have found their way into museum collections. Many of the objects bear images and are considered works of art. But our modern understanding does not correspond to the ancient ideas about the function of an image and the reason for its creation. It is imperative to know why the images were created, how they were used and perceived, how images were used to express political or religious ideas of certain people with their specific cultural and social backgrounds, and how the images were able to act themselves.
Papers submitted for this session deal with the visual culture of the Ancient Near East. The theme permits a wide variety of possible topics, such as: figurative and symbolic representations in different media; iconographic and comparative studies; style and stylistic analyses; artisans and workshops; artistic terms; art and materiality; proportions, canon of beauty, and other norms in the creation of images; perception of images then and now; modern theoretical and methodological approaches to Ancient Near Eastern images.

3. Archaeology as Cultural Heritage

Current conflicts in Syria, Iraq and other Near Eastern countries and the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage during crisis, but also by development, have made this topic a more urgent and important concern in Near Eastern Studies than ever before. Within this section we want to invite presentations about the current situation, initiatives founded to protect cultural heritage, but also more general and more controversial topics such as the responsibilities of field archaeologists for archaeological sites during and after excavation, strategies for the protection of cultural heritage, antiquities trade and illicit excavations, and the authority over and definition of cultural heritage.

4. Engendering Near Eastern Archaeology

Gender roles and identities are fundamental for the construction of most sociocultural norms and practices, ancient and modern. The Ancient Near East offers ample evidence to explore how these were enacted and materialized in political, economic, religious, and private spheres.
This section welcomes contributions that use gender as a category of analysis when dealing with various kinds of archaeological, bioarchaeological, visual and textual sources. Contributors are encouraged to clarify their theoretical and methodological stance when addressing issues such as gender and power relations, gender-specific treatments of bodies, the role of artistic media in the propagation of gender ‘ideals’, or the use of objects for engendering all kinds of cultural practices.

5. Societal Contexts of Religion

Religion is a central force of social order and identity, an "ideal", to borrow the felicitous term of Émile Durkheim, that is representative of a given society or culture and that conversely shapes it in a normative way. The relationship between forms of religion and the respective societies leads to questions such as: In which ways do religious practices represent social conditions? Which spaces are defined as sacred within their urban or rural contexts? How does everyday practice correspond to or differ from cultic practice or religious representations? How do social and cultural changes affect religious practice? Contributions based on archaeological and scientific data, iconography, literature, and/or documentary evidence are welcome.

6. Shaping the Living Space

Many actions of everyday life as well as exceptional events take place within some sort of spatial order determined by visible or invisible boundaries. Architecture is certainly one of the most evident means to shape the living space. Their physical immobility and durability in time means that architectural remains are an essential source of information for the understanding of the original spatial concepts behind single buildings or an entire city. This section focuses on the various ways that the built environment was organised and how architecture can affect the perceptions of people, their sensory experiences, and their understandings of space.

7. Field Reports

As the largest venue in Near Eastern Archaeology, ICAANE has since its inception offered a forum for the primary dissemination of newly acquired or processed data from the field. This commitment to active field research will be upheld during the 11th conference in Munich.
Submissions of papers reporting on new activities, or on previously unpublished research, from all regions and periods bearing on the cultural history of the Ancient Near East, are therefore welcomed and will receive due consideration. In addition to archaeological field reports, we particularly invite contributions involving the application of methods of geophysical prospection in Near Eastern Archaeology.

8. Islamic Archaeology

In past years, the Islamic section of ICAANE has been established as a forum that has been essential for information and discussion in the growing field of the archaeology of the Islamic Near East. This concerns reports about field research and current activities as well as the discussion of theories of cultural history. Debating the circumstances under which the academic field is operating has also played an important role in the ICAANE section on Islamic archaeology. The advisory committee that has been active for the past years, with Cristina Tonghini, Alan Walmsley, Donald Whitcomb, and Alison Gascoigne, will continue to supervise this section.
For the 11th ICAANE in 2018, the Organizing Committee invites papers on all aspects of the archaeology of the Islamic Near East to be presented in this section. Archaeologists working on the Islamic period who wish to give papers relating to topics of other sections are free to present them there. However, please keep in mind the potential audience among interested colleagues in the Islamic section.