Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) organises a series of four PhD courses designed to create an environment for discussions about the latest developments within well-known fields of archaeology such as cultural layers, dating methods and typology, as well as exploring new developments in isotope analysis on archaeological material and network theory. Each course stands alone, and can be signed up for individually.
With these courses UrbNet wishes to encourage a wider use and a more in depth understanding of these tools in order to further the process of refining the precision of dates, origin of materials and the interpretation of the archaeological record. They are all indispensable aspects of the “High Definition“ approach that UrbNet aspire to develop further in context. The approach aims to maximize the amount and quality of data extrapolated from even the smallest elements of an archaeological site, which in turn enables new and more precise arguments on big and decisive questions of “when, where and why?”. The courses are:
Networks - The aim of the course is to teach the participants how to analyse networks and integrate theory and methodology in the analyses of networks. The course also aims to enable the student to handle the specific challenges related to network analyses (fall 2017)
The courses aim to promote interdisciplinary collaboration, enable archaeologists working with all periods and geographic areas, as well as archaeoscientists and anyone who works with material related to archaeology to speak a common language and communicate in an effective manner. Furthermore we wish to equip researchers with ability to critically evaluate scientific methods and interpretations, as well as encourage archaeoscientists to translate the data in a manner that is meaningful to other disciplines.
The courses are aimed at PhD students from a range of disciplines, such as archaeology, geoscience, history and other related fields.
Each course will run over two consecutive days and primarily take place at UrbNet locations at Campus Moesgård – part of Aarhus University. The course will consist of lectures by leading researchers, student presentations, exercises, visits to relevant laboratories and workshops where it will be possible to work on issues related to the participants’ own research with input from lecturers and course participants.
Over the last few decades, isotope analyses have opened new, exciting avenues for understanding the past. From reconstructing changing climate and people’s diet to tracing trading networks, new dimensions of the past are emerging from archaeological isotope studies. Such an impact is rooted in the wide range of materials storing isotopes and technological advances to extract and measure past records at atomic and molecular scale. Isotopes occur in different ratios and sources but they all provide important records on what people and animals ate in the past, types and conditions of crops, land uses, provenance and processing of materials and resources. From these records, we can infer information on past environmental and climatic conditions, subsistence strategies, cultural practices, and choices. This research-led course will provide an introduction to the applications of isotope analyses in archaeology and a forum to discuss and reflect on how isotope studies are transforming approaches to the past.
Federica Sulas and Rubina Raja (Aarhus University)
UrbNet, Aarhus University Campus Moesgaard
Moesgaard Allé 20
The urban can be seen as the product of specific economic and social developments in the aftermath of the Neolithic revolution, embedded in cultural schemes of interpretation comprising religious ones. For the individual actor, it presents an enormously complex environment of constraints and affordances. Previous sacralisations and contemporary religious practices are part of that, reaching beyond the situation into the transcendental or at least “vertical”, thus implementing far or even “global” horizons into the complexities of the local. Thus, religious actions, communications and identities offer tools to carve out social spaces and to make or at least modify urban space. Neither is religion specifically urban nor the city specifically religious, but historically, in many periods and cultures, the shape and development (including growth as much as decline) of cities – and even more the different urban spaces created by individuals and different social groups within such built environments – and the shape and development of religious practices and ideas have significantly influenced each other.
The role of religion in creating spatial, temporal and social order in cities has been an important topic in research on ceremonial centres and cities of Meso- and South America to Near Eastern and ancient Mediterranean, but also on Chinese, Indian and medieval European cities. A growing number of inhabitants and the increased density of interaction seem to have prompted (and enabled) processes of institutionalisation and the formulation of norms. Referring to non-human agents beyond the human agents in a situation contributed to organising economic exchange and redistribution. Furthermore, it has been functional in defining property rights as well as rights of political participation. Vice versa, citizenship could regulate access to gods; for example, “synagogue” and “ekklesia” refer first of all to voting assemblies. Historical research has reconstructed such functions for many instances and recent sociological research, above all research on migration, has consequently enquired into processes of inclusion and exclusion, tolerance and competition caused or experienced by immigrating minorities proffering different or identical religious identities.
Rarely and never comparatively, however, has the interrelationship of city and religion been investigated with a view to other social differences of gender and age, social position and literacy, rural and trans-regional relationships. How is religion used by different agents to appropriate (and that is to say, also craft) urban space? How does this specific religious agency shape and change urban space over time? And how does the urban context change different or even competing practices of religious communication and the ensuing forms of sacralisation?
These are questions that will be introduced within the framework of a doctoral course intended for students from Archaeology to Religious Studies. The one-day course will be conducted by Rubina Raja (professor of Classical Archaeology and centre leader of UrbNet, Aarhus University) and Jörg Rüpke (professor of comparative history of religion, Max-Weber-Kolleg, Universität Erfurt). The course will take the shape of introductory lectures followed by 20-minute presentations by the participating PhD students, followed by 20 minutes of discussion. Each PhD student will be asked to chair the papers of another student in order to stimulate synergy between the various fields. The course is interdisciplinary and the first of a string of PhD courses on the theme “Urban Religion”.
Rubina Raja (Aarhus University) and Jörg Rüpke (Universität Erfurt)
UrbNet, Aarhus University Campus Moesgaard