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Journal of Urban Archaeology 2 has been published

The second volume in the new journal dedicated to urban archaeology can now be found online, Open Access. It revolves around the theme of 'Biographies of Place', one of UrbNet’s conceptual themes. We are excited to have published volume 2 and hope that it will reach a broad readership.

2020.11.17 | Eva Mortensen

This August, the new Journal of Urban Archaeology (JUA) saw the light of day. It is a journal founded by UrbNet centre director Rubina Raja and deputy director Søren M. Sindbæk. Now the second volume is out, and it contains twelve contributions by scholars working with urban societies of the past.

You can find it online at the online platform of Brepols Publishers.

Don't forget to check out  The Backfill – obviously, as the name says, the last section of the journal – a publication venue for alternative archaeological news.

For more information about JUA, visit the journal’s webpage. You will also find information about how to submit for coming volumes of the journal.

Biographies of Place

The contributions focus on the concept of 'Biographies of Place' – one of UrbNet's core conceptual agendas in the first round of the centre, which began in 2015. In 2016, the centre hosted an international conference on the topic, and several of the contributors to this second volume of JUA participated in the conference.

Like the conference, the contributions aim to explore how the combination of multiple methods and approaches contributes to characterise the biographies of urban sites and "circulation societies" (Aslanian 2012). Biographies comprise people but can be conceptualised more broadly as a gathering of people, things and spaces (Latour 2005). Traditional archaeological approaches to urban archaeology have been limited by a "feature-first" approach, in which evidence is separated and analysed according to material classes and only re-integrated at a highly generalised level of interpretation. By exploring a "context-first" approach, in which a multidimensional interpretation of individual contexts forms the point of departure for integrated "biographies" of urban sites and groups, the contributions in the second volume of JUA will help stimulate a new approach to urban archaeology.

Emerging applications of isotopic, biomolecular and geoarchaeological techniques afford unique potential for archaeology to refine the precision of dates, contexts and provenance ascribed to excavated materials. The present volume is an outcome of the exploration of how new forms of data can be harnessed to test, challenge and revise narratives of particular urban sites and fundamental assumptions about trajectories, dynamics and causal conditions of urbanisation in the era of globally interlocking, pre-industrial civilizations, here defined as the period approx. between the 2nd century BCE and the 16th century CE. Furthermore, the volume also explores concepts of urbanism and themes relating to urbanism in a historiographical perspective which will inform us about which ways scholarship has been shaped by directions in research.

Contributions in JUA, volume 2

  • Rubina Raja and Søren M. Sindbæk: Biographies of Place – An Introduction
  • Sarah Croix: Objects, Contexts, and Use of Space: The ‘Biography’ of a Workshop in Eighth-Century Ribe
  • Sven Kalmring: Birka’s Fall and Hedeby’s Transformation: Rewriting the Final Chapters of Viking Town Bibliographies
  • Hanna Dahlström, Bjørn Poulsen, and Jesper Olsen: A Port on the Øresund: Initiatives and Dynamics in the Early Life History of Copenhagen
  • Dries Tys: The Central Town Square in Medieval Towns in the (Southern) Low Countries: Urban Life, Form, and Identity between Social Practice and Iconographic Identity
  • Barbora Wouters: A Biographical Approach to Urban Communities from a Geoarchaeological Perspective: High-Definition Applications and Case Studies
  • Sauro Gelichi: Unconventional Places and Unconventional Biographies? Colonizing the Lagoon in the Middle Ages: The Case of Venice
  • Anna-Katharina Rieger: Short-Term Phenomena and Long-Lasting Places: The Altars of the Lares Augusti and the Compita in the Streets of Ancient Rome
  • Michael Blömer: Observations on Cities and their Biographies in Hellenistic North Syria
  • Achim Lichtenberger and Rubina Raja: Antioch on the Chrysorrhoas, Formerly Called Gerasa: Perspectives on Biographies of a Place
  • Rubina Raja and Søren M. Sindbæk: Urban Networks and High-Definition Narratives: Rethinking the Archaeology of Urbanism
  • Eivind Heldaas Seland: Climate Change in Urban Biographies: Stage, Event, Agent
  • Michael E. Smith: The Comparative Analysis of Early Cities and Urban Deposits
Publication, History and archaeology