Babel Tower – Poster Essays



Na Nova. Community archaeology in the East of Mallorca

Javier Rivas Ortiz, Miguel Àngel Salvà Cantarellas

In recent years, community archaeology has proven to be an effective strategy within the circuits of heritage valorization. This practice aims to directly involve multiple stakeholders in the management of the archaeological assets of their region. This poster intends to publicize an ongoing community archaeology project at the prehistoric site of Na Nova, in the municipality of Santanyí (Mallorca). It will present the objectives of this initiative and the ways used to promote the participation of local residents, encouraging debate and awareness towards the values of their heritage.

Full resolution in pdf.

Community Archaeology and the Web

Eleanor Q. Neil

While the internet is a useful tool to create and maintain community ties, the necessity of which has been heightened by the Covid-19 global pandemic, many communities and individuals remain technologically disenfranchised. Accessibility, both in digital and physical spaces, is a complex term that is too often allowed to remain amorphous and vague. Lack of access to computers, the effects of geographic location and infrastructure on internet connectivity and lack of digital skills are all common causes of exclusion from web-based communities. However, they are far from the only means of exclusion and communities and individuals who are not afforded this digital access are often also excluded from archaeological discussions and engagement, frequently for many of the same reasons. Community archaeology seeks to address these exclusions and include and empower voices of those who would otherwise be unheard or silenced. The digital space has the potential to act as a platform for that inclusion and democratic knowledge production. My poster will examine the ways in which the digital space is interacting with archaeology on Cyprus.

Full resolution in pdf and draft paper.

Crowd-sourcing heritage: Two case studies from Bosnia & Herzegovina

Andrew Lawler, Ruba Velagić

The procedure by which historical sites are identified, recorded and presented in Bosnia & Herzegovina has remained relatively static since the first efforts to systematically record the state’s heritage during the time of Austro-Hungarian rule: a site is visited by a representative of a relevant institution, recorded (and, if deemed to be of enough significance to allocate time and resources, excavated), and registered by the authorities. Although the numbers and types of such institutions have grown over the past near-century-and-a-half, capacities for recording sites and presenting them to the public through this traditional top-down approach remain insufficient to keep pace with the rate of identification. “Arheološki leksikon Bosne i Hercegovine”, the key reference for archaeological sites in the country, was published in 1988, and is in desperate need of revision to reflect discoveries made and research performed since that time, as well as – considering the work only incorporates sites up until the late 15th century – to better-reflect the entire temporal scope of what archaeology ‘is’. However, a sluggish administration and under-funded and insufficiently resourced institutions pose major obstacles to updating – and keeping up-to-date – such knowledge and information.
In recent years, two online platforms have been launched which go some way to counteracting this, each focusing on a distinct aspect of the state’s (and potentially wider region’s) tangible heritage. This presentation outlines the key benefits of these platforms, stemming from their ‘bottom-up’ approaches, whereby citizen-stakeholders use non-destructive methods to identify and record sites, with the information being uploaded to a centralized database, and then presented in an open and accessible format to other citizens, as well as to institutional stakeholders involved in the protection and presentation of heritage. It is seen that, alongside the direct involvement of individuals in the basic recording of sites, the presentation of data in an online database allows for a more dynamic and reactive approach to the identification of sites and the reporting of their current condition and risks or threats posed to this.

Full resolution in pdf.

Different perspectives on archaeological sites in urban tourist areas

Sara Iglić, Igor Kulenović

In recent years, with the expansion of tourism, there has been an increasing interest in preserving and presenting a larger number of archaeological and heritage sites. Many problems occur in heritage management in urban areas such as difficulty preserving sites because of various infrastructural interventions, higher rate of construction due to tourist demand, city expansions… The Croatian part of Adriatic is no different. Given the position and history of the Adriatic, almost every new building venture needs archaeological monitoring and a lot of them end up being archaeological sites that need excavating. Since tourism is a big part of the Croatian economy, the public opinion regarding archaeological sites in urban areas is divided. How does the public interact with said sites and how do they see them, as a positive or rather negative occurrence? Archaeological sites attract tourists and add value to properties and tourist offer. But also, they can be too big of an investment if they are to be presented to the public and they sometimes slow down the construction and development of certain urban areas. Some positive and negative aspects of such sites in tourist areas will be presented.

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Archaeological [In]gestion. Crossed reflections on the role of contract and academic Archaeology in Spain.

Juan Ignacio Alonso Porras, Ana Pastor Pérez

This paper seeks to connect the reader to the personal conversational experience of two archaeologists from different generations and specialisations. Far from being a personal diary, what we share here is a fragmented experience of knowledge exchange. A reflexive photo-essay on the precariousness of resources and ideas in times of pandemic, materialized through digital communication tools such as WhatsApp or Google Drive.
Through these epistolary fragments (captions) and pictures, we intend to question how different are the tasks and day-to-day life of an armchair post-doc archaeologist and an early career field archaeologist. Each of us wrote down what is suggested by the other’s images as an exercise in the exchange of otherness. Our emphasis here is on reflecting on the narratives generated by archaeological contexts. The result is an invitation to the audience to engage and be part of our otherness.

Full resolution pdf and the Powerpoint (pdf) presentation.

STARQ – The Portuguese Union for Workers of Archaeology, towards fair, democratic and egalitarian working conditions

Sara Simões, Liliana Matias de Carvalho, Mauro Correia, Sílvia Maciel, Miguel Rocha, Regis Barbosa

STARQ – The Portuguese Union for Workers of Archaeology (Sindicato dos Trabalhadores de Arqueologia) was formed in 2012 to defend and protect the rights of archaeology and heritage workers in Portugal. Bases its conduct on the conviction that archaeological practice is not independent from social and political contexts in which it is carried out. Therefore, to guarantee fair and safe working conditions is also a way to assure better practices of archaeological heritage management and public archaeology in the country, with greater democratization and access to archaeological goods and heritage by all the population.
A more critical understanding of the structures in which the activity is maintained, will not only lead archaeologists to seek out fair, democratic and egalitarian working conditions but also to question its ethical purposes and issues. In this sense, the existence of a union is an important element to bring unity and solidarity between workers, making the archaeological activity healthier and more balanced in its interpersonal relationships, with its action representing a space of resistance and social activism within today’s society. With this paper we will demonstrate how the Union’s action is not disconnected from the social context in which it operates, acting on several fronts.

Full resolution pdf.

Forgotten archaeological sites in Macedonia (Greece) as the base for the formation of ecomuseums: The case study of Anthofyto (Kilkis)

Ioanna Bach. Strantzali

The term ecomuseum and its concept are defined as an introduction to analyzing the intertwining it offers between nature and culture. The term ‘forgotten archaeological sites’ refers to such sites that are currently underused by authorities and their potential remains unexplored. Ecomuseums and their practices, through a combinational development of local manufacturing and primary production sectors, ecology and archaeology – under a small-scale tourism umbrella – allow the economic revival of marginal regions (e.g the case of Anthofyto). Furthermore, they offer communities the opportunity to preserve aspects of heritage and values as they emerge from within a dedicated dynamic live process that seeks to preserve valorization of nature, inform and change attitudes, encouraging groups and individuals to work together to contribute towards a common goal. Observations and recommendations are following on Anthofyto and other locations for potential ecomuseum development.

Full resolution pdf.

Only text for the Special Volume

Who explains museums to their visitors? A consideration on the Italian system of guided experiences in archaeological sites and museums

Caterina de Vivo

The capacity of a museum or an archaeological site to involve and engage the public is recognized as more and more important by the cultural heritage community, therefore museums educators should be considered as fundamental assets for any institution dealing with cultural heritage. Nevertheless, in Italy, the situation of the education departments of site and museums is particularly complex since in the 1990s the so-called Ronchey Law opened to the possibility for a museum to delegate some activities to external societies or organizations. Moreover, the relationship between sites and museums and tour guides changes constantly and still the role played by a museum educator and a tour guide is often confused. Finally, there are sites managed with so-called bottom-up approaches where new models are tested. This paper aims to make an overview of the professional categories who work with visitors of sites and museums in Italy, using the city of Naples as a case study and underlying criticalities and what could be improved, also learning from the pandemic crisis.

Full resolution pdf and Powerpoint with the overview of the paper.

Heritage Mediation or Cultural Mediation? Just People-Centered Mediation: Social Mediation, unfinished?

Angel Astorqui

When we talk about mediation, we start from the assumption that there are at least two parties in conflict or that they do not fully understand each other: countries, teams, communities, neighbours… People. The first documented mediation can be dated back to the third millennium BC in Mesopotamia and the conflicts focused on commercial issues. Economy first. Later it is applied to political matters, and in recent times to personal and social problems. The fact is that mediation is a necessary tool for the development of society, understanding development as a degree of freedom. At this point, Public Culture, Public Archaeology, has much to say about and contribute to. Let us continue working on improving our professional skills so that Archaeology is a true Social Science adapted to be a tool that helps solve the social problems of our time. After defining the “what for”, we must work on the “how”: Let’s work on training, strategy, planning, methodology, “sustainlifebility”, mediation, legacy… Social Mediation, alive and unfinished. Opening this debate to tackle how to build collective knowledge is the objective of this mediation proposal: mutual learning, sharing knowledge and pedagogies. Are you interested? Tell us why you want to do this to (re)know ourselves.

Building the Past, Now. The contributions of Contemporary Archaeology of the Mediterranean to the societies of the Present

Daniel Carvalho

The Mediterranean has long been a stage for the most diverse human activities with a major interest in Archaeology. However, the present times have challenged the view that the Past takes a considerable time to be epistemologically constructed, accompanied by the realization that our impact as a species increases exponentially, so much that the concept of the Anthropocene has become a reality. Mass production of disposable items, national and international conflicts, exodus and migrations, climate change – all offer a myriad of structures and material culture that most definitely will shape the Past, the one that future generations of archaeologists will seek to unveil. Why wait? This paper encompasses the idea that Archaeology can engage in this debate, offering relevant insight and contributions, building a true connection with the public, demonstrating the value of the discipline for the societies of the Present. What narratives from the Mediterranean are being produced that have/will have an archaeological effect? What material culture are we creating? What will survive or not? Can archaeological methods be deployed to understand the contemporary scenarios of the Mediterranean and offer new information about ourselves? Can the recent Past be truly invaluable to the Present?

Powerpoint with the overview of the paper.

Authentic Orchestrations and Orchestrated Authenticity

Reem Furjani

Arguing against exclusive value-production in conventional conservation practices, an emerging discourse in the heritage field encourages re-thinking value as a socio-cultural construct that occurs within what communities do with and around heritage. However, while the new Critical Heritage field positions communities as carriers of the authentic native interpretations, this paper questions this authenticity by foregrounding the role of the spatial setting in influencing lay processes of meaning-making. As a case study, the study focuses on a spatial transformation around the Roman Arch of Marcus Aurelius in the Medina of Tripoli during its politically-driven restoration. By taking three sections in the timeline of the colonial symbol, differences are revealed in lay interpretations before and after this transformation. The first illuminates community ways of engaging with the arch following the Roman period. Voyageur diaries between the 17th and 20th centuries record a native de-valuing of its aesthetic and monumental qualities as manifested in its utilisation to serve functional purposes; nonetheless, lay efforts to sustain it indicate a valuing of its historical symbolism. Secondly, its restoration during the Italian colonisation of Libya included contextual appropriations to emphasise its grandeur which authoritatively re-constructed its monumental meaning in a way that abates native socio-cultural filters. This is revealed in the third section which ethnographically documents current civil society uses of the arch as an aesthetic monument. In this way, the paper illuminates processes of decay and re-creation of meanings and their influence on authenticity in community ways of doing heritage.

Archaeological commodities: images of the past in the present

Dimitra Mazaraki

This essay examines the representations of the local past through the recognisable archaeological images used for public consumption. Special attention will be given to the production of touristic products from the hosting communities, considering the importance of the touristic sector about how the past is reconstructed in the present. At the same time, the nexus between archaeological sites and the local communities will be examined, especially about the images of the past that are offered for the insiders of the community. Consideration will be given to the nature of this relationship in the modern city of Malia, in Crete, which was radically transformed when mass tourism development began there in the early 1970s. Tourism has provided for the community’s outsiders a selected archaeological past, which is in opposition to the representations of the past that the modern community has selected for itself. How should community archaeology approach these matters and why?

PDF with the overview of the paper.

What role must foreign archaeological sites play in the societies that they serve?

Ahmed Agiel

City Branding is defined as a practice to gain an advantage that would allow the city to attract more investments and tourism as well as contribute to the brand identity. The city’s image is considered as a social and cultural construct where we collect beliefs, perceptions, and ideas that people have towards the city. Mediterranean architecture has a distinct style united by the Roman Empire’s architecture, which is still evident today in Libya’s archaeological sites, such as Leptis Magna. The colonial architectural style is associated with a love/hate emotional attachment with the indigenous community who may love the architecture but hate the political reasons for its existence. This study intends to understand how/if the archaeological sites in cities can invoke place attachments, place memory, and place identity. This study will use Repertory Grid Technique interviews supported with participants’ observation of photographs selected from Leptis Magna, with a sample of local indigence from the same region. The study’s expected findings will contribute to our understanding of how archaeological sites can play an essential role in the City’s Brand, user behaviour, and the role archaeological sites play in impacting the city and a source of memory and place identity.

Cultural impact on local community in Eastern-Macedonian region of Maleshevo through the eyes of an archaeologist

Kristijan Blazevski

Nations, cultures, societies drag their roots, symbols, and narratives from the past. But, understanding the past might also be important for planning the future and building societies. Most of the time people try to look forward, towards the development and future, but it is equally important to stop and look back on what the community and individuals have accomplished yesterday or centuries ago. It is there that the archaeology steps in. As a scientific discipline, it has its unique contribution in the development of society, through the excavations, promotions, and protection of cultural heritage, but also tourism, wider economic development and especially the richness of cultural life of different communities. This last goal is nowhere more important than in small and rural communities. This paper provides a distinctive view of an archaeologist of the small mainly rural Macedonian region of Maleshevo, recognized nationwide for its unique symbolic importance in history. I provide a comparison of the state of development of the archaeological sites and activities in this region with the other unique elements of its cultural profile and life, such as the historical sites and related manifestations, ottoman period architecture, and the traditional carnival Ratevski Bamburci.

Full resolution pdf.

Archaeologists and the Public: Do we have a voice of our own?

Ljuben Tevdovski

This paper represents a specific approach to reexamining the identity and societal role of contemporary archaeologists, through the complex multilayered impact of different archaeological hypotheses and traditions over the identities and culture of contemporary people and communities around the world.
It hypothesizes that the self-reflective process, that the social sciences and humanities are going through in the last decades, have strengthened and expanded the theoretical and methodological capacities of archaeology, but also led towards the creation of a subtle flaw that affects its contemporary development and societal impact. Thus, the awareness for the tradition of misuse of archaeological hypotheses and artefacts as narratives and symbols of different ideologies, tendencies, or systems of oppression, like modern imperialism, colonialism, nationalism, and racism, has transformed the new self-aware archaeologists of the 21st century into shy or absent collocutors in the debates connected to the main challenges of contemporary societies.
The paper proposes that the argument and attitude of avoiding the social and societal debates and public engagements by archaeologists represents a dangerous trend for both archaeology and society. Instead, it hypothesizes that both the specific professional history of the discipline and new acquired capacities and awareness of archaeology and the archaeologists oblige them to find their voice and make their impact in a new open-minded world of ideas, technologies, and more inclusive identities.

Archaeology as battleground. The power of historical heritage in the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts

Angela Sokoloska

The rich history and present conflicts are among the most prominent aspects of the identity of the Near East. One of the hotspots of this wider region certainly is the southern Levant, where archaeology and politics are closely intertwined. Therefore, there, even more than in other places, every archaeological discovery, besides the contribution in the studies of collective identities, holds a huge potential of bringing forward new political implications and controversies. This paper focuses on several archaeological sites and landscapes in the West Bank and Jerusalem, reanalyzing their influence on the modern conflicts happening from 1967 until today. In the first part of the paper, I analyze the archaeological work, different approaches and methodologies used in these archaeological sites. Also, I provide the linkage with the plethora of written sources, connected to these sites, such as the descriptions of the Hebrew Bible. Finally, the paper focuses on the potential and impact of this archaeological work and heritage on the public and academic discussions aiming towards a better understanding of the inter-religious and inter-ethnic studies and dialogue in this region.

Full resolution pdf.

The Importance of Archaeology in Small Mediterranean Countries – Comparative Analysis of Recent Developments in Croatian and North Macedonian Archaeologies

Stojance Micev, Simona Goceva

In this paper, we examine the importance of cultural heritage, the benefits from the investment in its sustainable management and presentation for society in small Mediterranean states. The comparative analysis of the archaeological practice and the overall development of Croatian and North Macedonian archaeology is based entirely on our own experiences and conducted examinations in the two countries in a period of two years. This paper aims to present new ideas for the development of archaeology and archaeological practice in both societies, reevaluate their approaches, policies and accomplishments from a comparative perspective and trigger a wider debate on investment in archaeology in the wider public of these two Mediterranean and Balkan countries.

Draft in English and Macedonian. Powerpoint with the overview of the paper.

Have a look at the short guide to prepare your posters here.

In short:

Size(format) = A1 (594x841mm)
Only rule: at least half of the surface has to be images!