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CALL. 30.11.2018: Measure & Value Iron Age Systems of Economic and Social Differentiation - Würz




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: (Würzburg, Germany)


INFO: web -


The Iron Age of Central Europe is characterised by a significant intensification of economic relations between the indigenous cultures north of the Alps and the Mediterranean region. The goods and objects, which were incorporated into this complex Iron Age economic system possessed individually measured values for all communication partners involved. Presumably, these values went beyond purely economic categorization. For example, the Hallstatt period "southern import", as well as the Late La Tène consumer and prestige goods played a formative role in the development of Iron Age social systems. As a measure of social differentiation, those material factors were analysed in burial and settlement archaeology. In addition, these studies gave insight into the integration and validity of different categories of objects in the circulation of goods in an economy, which, among other factors, contributed to the development of complex settlement systems and urban structures. Often, however, concrete assessments of the actual but also the intangible value of material culture were limited to general evaluation. These attempted to grasp the value of things in the context of general considerations of their role in an agricultural economy. Ancient written sources, such as Diodorus’ AG Eisenzeit Würzburg 2019 – Call for Papers witticism on the exchange of a slave for an amphora of wine, only occasionally offer clues to the quality and merchandise value of goods. Numerous finds of weights but also analyses of vessel capacity indicate regional or supra-regional measures, which apparently contributed to the regulation and standardisation of exchange relations. These culminated in the gradual spread of a monetary system since the Middle La Tène period, which offered an exchange system beyond actual material values on the basis of regulated standards of alloy. Certain finds and features suggest, however, that earlier standardised systems of measurement and value existed, which helped to categorise and correlate economic interaction using measures of capacity, weights, test instruments, and measures of length and time. Whether those measures contributed to the social significance of objects and goods and thus represented a way of estimating the value of things in an ideational dimension, remains a matter of research. The frequent association of measuring devices (gauges, weights etc.) with religious symbols and sacred contexts suggests an indissoluble interweaving of economic values and belief systems not only in numismatics.

We highly appreciate contributions on all aspects of Iron Age economic and social values and measure systems in Central Europe for the 2019 annual conference of the Iron Age Study Group. A primal focus will be put on archaeological or historical relics of actual systems of measures and categorisation such as weights, measures of capacity, length, and time and their position in a broader economic and social context. Furthermore, presentations may include approaches to the ideational assessment and evaluation of material culture in a social context in connection with, and beyond purely economic values.

The session will also provide an opportunity to present results of recent research on the European Iron Age. Proposals on such topics are equally welcome.

Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. Presentation media (projector & laptop) are provided. Should the number of contributions exceed the time slots available, a selection will be made by the study group board. Colloquium languages will be German, English, and French.

Scientific poster presentations are invited, too. Please do only propose posters on Iron Age studies. These are not restricted to the topic of the session. The deadline for poster proposal is 30th November 2019.

If you wish to contribute a presentation or poster please fill in the attached form completely and insert a short summary of your presentation or poster (up to 2000 characters including blanks) into the text field (you will find that longer entries are impossible!).

For general information and conference registration (speakers & other participants) please consult the webpage of WSVA at Conference registration via the Iron Age Study Group is not possible!

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