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Para-colonial legacies: German & British imaginaries of ancient Aegean landscapes

This two-day workshop will aim to review diverging imaginaries of, and approaches to, the ancient Aegean resulting from para-colonial and subsequent historical legacies and seek ways to create new cross-fertilising approaches and international collaborations.
When Dec 16, 2016 12:00 PM to
Dec 17, 2016 06:00 PM
Where McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street
Contact Name
Attendees Participants wishing to join in coffee and lunch must pre-register with Toby Wilkinson
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Archaeology emerged during the terminal period of European imperialism and some of its practices were heavily defined by contemporary concerns. The former Ottoman lands of modern Greece and Turkey were never colonised, and yet cultural relationships of the newly emergent states on either side of the Aegean were nonetheless set by international relations of the late 19th/early 20th century, the basis of which have long since expired in the modern political sphere. One effect was the establishment of national traditions of scholarship and institutions governing archaeology that continue to mark present day research practice, including a diverging emphasis on the type of work done on each side of the Aegean.

The cultural impact of German archaeological works at Troy, Tiryns, Mycenae and Miletos were felt well beyond the confines of archaeological and classical scholarship, and continue to inform modern socio-political debates about history and identity especially in Germany and Britain, as well as Greece and Turkey. Works along the west coast of Turkey have been dominated by site-led excavations, which were funded and administered by Germans or inspired German approaches, to the extent that the study of western Turkish archaeology has been almost exclusively defined by German scholarship. In Britain, ‘Aegean archaeology’ is usually implicitly restricted to study of remains found on the modern Greek mainland and Aegean islands, with a strong emphasis on landscape study and a high regard for survey. At the scale of individuals, the continuing barriers are linguistic and pragmatic, but the effect of these diverging imaginaries of Aegean landscapes is to obscure ancient human dynamics in which western Turkey, mainland Greece and the intervening islands were part of an integral and continuous cultural land and sea-scape.

Organisers: Toby C Wilkinson (Archaeology) and Anja Slawisch (Classics)


                Para-colonial legacies: German & British imaginaries of ancient Aegean landscapes

                                                                      Photo Credit: T Wilkinson


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Supported by the DAAD Cambridge Research Hub, the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and Churchill College

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