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Between the Lines: Towards a Recontextualized Archaeology

Conference organised by Amy Miranda and Rubina Raja (Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, Aarhus University)

Date: 13-14 June 2022

Time: two full days, 9.00 to approximately 17.00

Venue: Moesgaard Museum, Moesgård Allé 15, DK-8270 Højbjerg, Building 4240, room 301 (13 June) and room 302 (14 June)


Archives and legacy data, though previously underutilized in archaeological scholarship, are an important source of information on ancient cultures. As the archival turn gains traction in the field of archaeology it is the responsibility of scholars to understand the 19th and 20th century historiography and acknowledge the inherent bias of archival and legacy data. Much of the field’s history has been shaped by early colonialist attitudes that are now being challenged across the humanities as work the decolonize history has finally taken hold. As archives and legacy data have been shaped and curated, the human element of such information must be accounted for in the present-day. For example, giving voice to groups such as women, non-elites, or non-western perspectives that are underrepresented deserve amplification.

When the modern shape of archaeological practices was being formed, colonialism was accepted. Even following both World War One and World War Two, global policies such as the formation of the League of Nations or the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon, for example, would have implications for archaeology and cultural heritage preservation that are still felt in the present. The resonances not only need to be acknowledged by archaeologists, but confronted head-on: current scholarship must reread primary source data through a new, decolonized lens. Such a lens will give voice to underrepresented and hitherto under heard groups who have potential to reshape ancient and modern history. A rereading may also aid in restitution efforts and heritage preservation, both tangible and intangible. Meaning, working with archaeological archives and legacy data in new ways may aid in post-conflict cultural healing. Although such an agenda may appear, at first glance, outside the scope of archaeology, the question of ethical responsibility in past and current archaeological practices is worthy of address.

This two-day conference addresses the ethical responsibility of scholars in their use of archival material and legacy data, and the field’s obligation to decolonize history by reading between the lines. The papers address not only what is recorded in such primary data, but also what is unwritten or apparent in a close reading of the images or drawings presented in archives.

The conference is organised under the auspices of the project Archive Archaeology: Preserving and Sharing Syria’s Cultural Heritage through Harald Ingholt’s Digital Archives financed by the ALIPH foundation as well as the Centre for Urban Network Evolutions. We will host the event in person at Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, Aarhus University.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Hiba Alkhalaf (King's College London) 
  • Michel Al-Maqdissi (Louvre Museum)
  • Jen Baird (Birkbeck College, University of London)
  • Juliette Desplat (The National Archives [UK])
  • Raphael Greenberg (Tel Aviv University)
  • Sarah Irving (Staffordshire University)
  • Zena Kamash (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • Patrick Michel (Lausanne University)
  • Amy Miranda (Aarhus University) *Organiser
  • Vinnie Nørskov (The Museum of Ancient Art, Aarhus University)
  • Gertjan Plets (Utrecht University)
  • Rubina Raja (Aarhus University) *Organiser
  • Isber Sabrine (Archaeology of Social Dynamics, Spanish National Research Council)

Practical information for speakers


For invited (non-AU) speakers, up to three nights of accommodation will be covered as well as travel expenses. Please book your own travel to Aarhus, and we will reimburse you after your stay. Please note that we can only reimburse economy-class tickets booked directly through an airline and not via a search engine. We would also appreciate it if you could book sooner rather than later, in order to get a reasonably priced flight. Please confirm the price of your travel with us before you book.

As soon as you have booked your flight, please forward your itinerary to Mie Egelund Lind (melind@cas.au.dk), so that the hotel booking can be confirmed. 

After the event, you will receive a link to AU’s online travel reimbursement form. It is important that you keep your receipts, as you will need to provide documentation for expenses.


We have booked accommodation according to travel itinaries for all international speakers at:

Hotel Scandic City
Østergade 10
DK-8000 Aarhus C

Phone: +45 8931 8100


We will host a dinner for speakers 13 June, and we will of course cater for you during the conference. For sustainability reasons, we strive to serve only vegetarian meals.  

NOTE: If you have any dietary restrictions (incl. allergies), please let Mie Egelund Lind (melind@cas.au.dk) know, so that the restaurant and caterers can be notified.