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CALL. 30.09.2018: Excavating the Extra-Ordinary. Challenges and merits of working with small finds -




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Senatssaal, Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Mainz, Germany)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Dr. Monika Zöller-Engelhardt; Andrea Kilian M. A.

INFO: call - web -


In times of post-processual archaeology and contextualizing from an emic point of view, the merits of working with even the tiniest archaeological evidence have come to the foreground in most Egyptological fieldwork undertakings. Long gone are the times of throwing away fragmentary and unspectacular objects, of burning undecorated coffin fragments or brushing off organic remains from "more interesting" artifacts. Every excavator and scholar knows that astonishing conclusions can be drawn from analyzing seemingly “ordinary” finds. And yet, the challenges of working with ancient material still remain unchanged: huge amounts of pottery, often fragmentary heaps of worked wood, an abundance of poorly preserved ropes, baskets and bandages or infinitesimal traces of metal and so much more - often found in a disturbed or mixed context. A difficult setting to work with, because how can we deal with situations in which the results remain inconclusive? And how can we increase awareness of the importance of publishing information on even large amounts of “ordinary” objects?

The workshop aims at facing these challenges and highlighting the merits of working with disturbed contexts and seemingly unimpressive object groups. We wish to bring together scholars from all areas of object centered work, e.g. from excavations, museums and universities. In our discussion-centered workshop setting we intend to exchange ideas about methods, modi operandi and best practices, among others, but not exclusively focusing on:

  • How do you deal with largely disturbed contexts?

  • How do you manage a huge quantity of finds?

  • How do you identify specific items among mixed groups?

  • Which deeper insights do you gain by analyzing difficult objects and contexts?

  • Which methods proved useful to you and which not?

  • How do you cope with inconclusive results?

In addition to our experienced keynote and impulse-speakers we would like to invite scholars and researchers on all career levels to present a paper or poster about their research activity addressing the challenges and merits of working with difficult finds and contexts. We especially ask young researchers to present challenges they are working on at the moment. Embrace the opportunity to discuss your research questions with an experienced audience.

We are looking forward to an exciting and successful exchange and welcoming you at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.



The time frame for the presentation of papers is 20 minutes. Discussion slots of 20 minutes will follow every other presentation. Presenters may send materials for the workshop participants to us in advance. We will send these materials to the participants prior to the workshop, so that they can better prepare for the exchange of ideas. Please send an abstract with a maximum of 350 words detailing your paper by no later than 30 September 2018 to The language of the workshop is English.


Innovative poster presentations will allow you direct and indirect contact with the audience: a time frame will be reserved for the personal presentation of your poster as well as constant access to the poster online via QR-code. The intended poster format is DIN A1. Posters will be printed in advance at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz from a high resolution PDF by the organizers. Please send an abstract with a maximum of 350 words detailing your poster by no later than 30 September 2018 at

The language of the poster should be English.

Deadlines & Dates

30 September 2018: Deadline for the submission of abstracts (papers & posters)

31 January 2019: Deadline for registration without a paper or poster (please note there is a limit on participants)

8–9 April 2019: Workshop at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz


There is no workshop fee

Please note
  • Participants without a paper or poster are very welcome. Due to limited room capacity, we have to ask for registration in advance.

  • Unfortunately, we cannot cover travel expenses or accommodation.

  • During the time of our workshop, there will also be a large conference held at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. We therefore recommend that you reserve accommodations in Mainz as early as possible after having received our confirmation of registration.

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