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CALL. 15.11.2019: Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference 2020 - Split (Croatia)








Session 1: "From trench to press"

Organisers: Alessandra Esposito (PDRA @King's College London) and Kaja Stemberger Flegar (Arcaheologist @PJP d.o.o.) Emails: /

The session focuses primarily on studying material from old(er) excavations using new methodological approaches to the reinterpretation of old reports with the aim of bridging the gaps between modern archaeology and pre-WWI archaeology. A second key issue covered in this session is how to approach an excavation in areas that were already excavated in the past and consequently, how to address the problems posed by old documentation in such cases. Finally, the session is concerned with how to deal with material from sites with missing documentation, also accounting for geographical biases resulting from different historical traditions of archaeological analyses. The full session abstract can be viewed at and instructions on how to submit an abstract are available at

Session 2: "Critical Globalisation: A Theoretical Framework for the 'Crisis' of the 3rd century"

Organisers: Dr Paolo Cimadomo (; Dr Alessandra Esposito (; Dr Dario Nappo (

The Roman Empire has been recently considered a valid case study for the application of global history and globalisation theories by Roman historians and archaeologists (Pitts and Versluys 2014, Globalisation and the Roman World: World History, Connectivity and Material Culture). This approach highlights the characteristics of the Roman Empire as an interconnected world, where numerous cultural, economic, and religious exchanges took place, creating everywhere a common cultural veneer considered as ‘Roman’. This session aims to challenge the concepts of globalisation in the Roman Empire, using as case study the ‘crisis’ of the 3rd century CE. Current scholarship assumes that this connectivity came to an abrupt interruption during that period of crisis (Hekster, de Kleijn and Slootjes 2007, Crises and the Roman Empire). Despite abundant scholarly works on the subject, no satisfactory and shared theory of crisis exists. Combining globalisation and crisis as object of analysis, this panel explores whether the diverse range of trading and cultural Roman links, implied by the globalisation theories, would continue or be disrupted once the imperial world supposedly almost collapsed. Our main questions are how can we theoretically define the crisis that affected the Roman Empire in the 3rd century CE: economic, political, or military? Did it affect the connections across the Roman Empire and how far and how fast did they change? Finally, whether globalisation and crisis were two phenomena mirroring each other, and to what extent was (or was not) a global empire more prone to experience a global crisis? We welcome abstracts for papers of max 30 minutes to be submitted to the TRAC 2020 Split Local Organising Committee at by the 15th of November, indicating the title of the session. Further information on the call is available at

Sesssion 3 "Roman Subaltern Studies: Highlighting Subaterns's Signs in the Archaeological Record"

Organisers: Mauro Puddu (Independent Researcher);Andrew Gardner (UCL)

The session invites archaeologists (and other social scientists interested in the past) to reflect on the overwhelming role that the elites have had so far in the interpretation of the Roman World, and to discuss a potential theoretical solution that can provide us with a change of paradigm. But who are the non-elites, those that did not rule neither in Rome nor in its Provinces, and how can we build a materilly-driven counter-narrative that balances our knowledge of classical antiquity?

We ask our speakers to engage this time with the concept of subalterns theorised by philosopher Antonio Gramsci in his Prisons' Notebooks (1929-1935). We have accurately chosen this still unexplored concept, as we believe it can help us all with a valuable socio-historical framework that fits our research questions. Seeking for the material signs of the past that can trigger such framework of Gramsci's is the challenge that this session invites us all to take on. The full session abstract is available at<>

Session 4: “The Reach of Rome: copying and imitating material culture and practices in the Roman-period provinces"

Organisers: Rebekka Valcke; Thomas Matthews Boehmer

This session will explore the impact of imitative behaviour and their localised trajectories within ancient communities in the Roman provinces. The Roman period is perceived to have witnessed an extensive circulation of a whole repertoire of artefacts and practices. It has been recognised that this flow of ideas, objects, and even people produced a range of responses within the Roman Empire. Striking about many of these responses is that they were often materialised in the form of imitating of copying the ‘original'. Few attempts have been made to come to terms with the implications of imitations in Roman archaeology. This panel seeks to recontextualise this concept and reconsider the model of imitative material culture beyond the terminology of fuzzier concepts such as ‘foreign’, ‘native’, ‘local’ and ‘Roman’.

We welcome papers on topics relating to one of more of these themes:

- Why did ancient communities imitate certain practices and artefacts?

- Why were certain communities not actively engaged with this process?

- Does the value and use of an imitation change in comparison to its original counterpart?

- Should we define all these practices as imitation, or should there be separate sub-categories?

The full session abstract is available at

For further information about the session, please contact Rebekka Valcke at and Thomas Matthews Boehmer at

Session 5: “What happens when we dig big: recent work on huge datasets in Roman Archaeology"

Organiser: Francesca Mazzilli

Often Roman sites produce incredibly rich datasets. For example, the excavations along the A14 and the new town at Longstanton in Cambridgeshire have collected huge amounts of Roman artefacts. Furthermore, synthesis projects such as The Rural Settlement of Roman Britain project, and the Oxford Roman Economy Project have pulled together large datasets from multiple excavations, surveys and research projects. With much of the data accessible online, there are further opportunities for others to assess large-scale trends in the ‘data’. In this session we want to explore the impact of large datasets derived from excavations and synthesis projects, and scrutinise what the opportunities and challenges are for archaeology. To do this, for example, we might asses from a theoretical perspective what the issues are related to Roman archaeology, or through theory-practice approaches to determine what analyses of might advance our knowledge of the Roman past. Alternatively we might assess the role of the public and/or field staff in shaping research designs, what we do with theories and methods, in the broadest sense, with respect to the great mass of material culture, animal bone, human bone, and environmental data. Specifically, this session will examine what the strategies and tactics are in dealing with large datasets, and what kinds of opportunities and challenges these have for Roman archaeology? We invite contributions and experiences from across the Roman world, as well as those involved in commercial and/or academic archaeology, and those working in transition periods. The session abstract is also available at

For further information about the session, please contact Francesca Mazzilli at

Session 6: "Theorizing Ethnic Economies in the Roman Empire (SDEP sponsored panel)”

Organisers: Tibor Grüll (University of Pécs –; David Wallace-Hare (University of Toronto –

Pecoud 2010 problematizes a single concept of modern ‘ethnic economies’ by fragmenting it into a series of diverse underlying themes highly productive for thinking about how we can approach the formation of ethnic economies in the Roman world and the diversity represented therein by asking questions arising from sociological scholarship on more recent ethnic economies. According to Pecoud, ethnic economies could be defined as: a) a set of connections/regular patterns of interactions among a group of people sharing common national background and/or migration experiences (Waldinger et al.1990:33), b) situations where shared ethnicity provides some sort of economic advantage (Logan et al. 1994: 693), c) an economic network including not only participants in ethnic enterprises, but also their co-ethnic customers and pool of potential of employees as well, whose availability and concentration in a community could increase the viability of such ethnic enterprises (Spenner and Bean 1999:1026), d) enterprises from the same ethnic group, without an assumption that they only have employees drawn from their own community (Strüder 2003:187), or e) ethnic minority entrepreneurs as business owners or self-employed individuals “who self-identify with a particular ethnic (geographically or religiously based) group.” (Menzies et al. 2003: 128). In this light, the current panel aims to use archaeological and epigraphic data to illuminate the Roman immigrant experience and explore the operation of pre-Roman ethnicities professionally in areas which came under Roman occupation.

The session abstract is also available at:

For further information about the session, please contact David Wallace-Hare (

The deadline for submitting your abstract is the 15th of November. You can find more detailed instuctions on abstract submission at

Paper submissions for TRAC sessions should include:

  • Title of the theme session / general session you are submitting to:

  • Title of the paper:

  • Name(s) of the speaker(s):

  • Affiliation(s):

  • Contact email(s):

  • An abstract of 200 – 250 words:

All submissions should be sent by email ONLY to the TRAC 2020 Split Local Organising Committee at and not to individual session organisers so that paper submissions can undergo blind peer review.

The proposals will be sent to the Local Organising Committee and session organisers for review and paper proposers will be informed of the Committee’s decision by mid-December.

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