Conference Athens

With the title ‘Cultural management: present and future’, the Postgraduate Studies Programme “Management of monuments: Archaeology, Urban Planning and Architecture” in collaboration with the Institute of Heritage Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council (Incipit, CSIC) and with the financial support of the Embassy of Spain in Athens, co-organise a two day conference at the University of Athens.

The conference offers a wide range of papers from Greece and beyond, dealing with the management of cultural heritage and, mostly, the management of archaeology. You can download the full program here:

As part of the network building from #pubarchMED the central conference and the last session, will delve into the Mediterranean perspective and the multiple relations between archaeological heritage management and society.


9th May, 19:30 – Central conference:

The Conjunto Arqueológico de Carmona: An Archaeological Site open to the Public for more than One Hundred and Thirty Years.Ignacio Rodríguez Temiño (CAC)

After several years of archaeological excavations, the Necrópolis Romana de Carmona [Roman Necropolis of Carmona] was inaugurated on 24 May 1885. It was the first archaeological site to be opened for public visit in Spain. Although it was originally a private enterprise, in 1930, ownership was transferred to the state.
In 1984, the site was transferred to the Junta de Andalucía [Andalusian government], which, in 1993, changed its official name to Conjunto Arqueológico de Carmona [Carmona Archaeological Ensemble] (CAC). Today, the CAC receives an average of 38000 visitors a year.
At the turn of the millennium, the CAC underwent a period of reflection, as it became clear that the CAC’s main problem was not knowing what the problem was. This new phase was characterized by a combination of reflection and debate on basic ideological principles, as well as a diagnostic study. Taking advantage of the obligation for all open-air archaeological museums to have a master plan, the CAC staff defined future objectives and strategies to tackle the CAC’s main challenges. The Carmona Archaeological Ensemble Master Plan (PDCAC from the Spanish) was used to provide a common conceptual foundation for the analysis, the objectives to be achieved and the means for doing so (staff, projects and investment). The PDCAC focuses on two main areas: conservation and research of the archaeological burial remains, and educational activities for visitors, primarily from schools.
Although the PDCAC has not yet been implemented (or even approved) due to the economic crisis, we have advanced in these areas through projects and small actions.

10th May, half day [morning] – International session

10.00-10.15 – Opening. Dimitris Plantzos, University of Athens [chair]

10.15-10.45 – Introduction: #pubarchMED or the need to look beyond the stones. Jaime Almansa-Sánchez. Incipit, CSIC [Spain]

Archaeology studies people from the past through their material culture, but it is a discipline directly linked to the present. However, even public archaeology uses to look at the ’stones’ making any communication mostly about this past we are unraveling. This project tried to take a step forward in this sense, directly linking archaeology, society and contemporary dynamics through the optics of public archaeology and archaeological heritage management. Economy, politics and cultural trends merge together in an attempt to disentangle current interrelations and impact to, and from, archaeology.

10.45-11.15 – Prehistory and Cultural Heritage in Israel. Ianir Milevski. Israel Antiquities Authority [Israel]

The southern Levant (Palestine/Israel/Jordan) is one of the important places in the Mediterranean basin in which the out of Africa of the Homo sapiens take place. Even before, during Lower and Middle Palaeolithic times, hominins inhabited the region leaving their traces in the archaeological record. Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures are also very important components in the long history of human and social evolution in the region; altogether they represent ca. 1,400,000 years of (pre)history. Unfortunately, these traditions are not fully represented in the cultural heritage policies because of different reasons; while some sites like the Mount Carmel caves have been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, periods connected with the Biblical traditions are largely preferred in the main-stream archaeological discourse. This paper will analyze the main expressions of Prehistoric fieldwork and research in the southern Levant and the place Prehistory has gained in the preservation of the Cultural Heritage in Israel.

11.15-11-30 – Break

11.30-12.00 – Who are we protecting archaeological heritage for? Heritage management and the challenge of public participation in Italy. Francesca Benetti. University of Padova [Italy]

After the Second World War, the international political community, with bodies like UNESCO and the Council of Europe, has increasingly stressed the need of fostering public participation as a tool to achieve a meaningful democracy. Italy has signed or ratified several international conventions which include recommendations for public participation (e.g. the ELC, the Faro Convention), but notwithstanding these international obligations and a recent scholarly movement towards public archaeology, participatory heritage management remains still quite challenging. This presentation will focus on archaeological heritage management from the legislative and administrative point of view, to highlight the many challenges that public archaeology has to face in Italy. It will call for an evidence-based policy making and will stress the need of a reappraisal of the role of cultural heritage legislation in Italy.

12.00-12.30 – Heritage Ethnographies: re-visiting theories and methodologies to explore contemporary archaeology and social impact in Barcelona’s Gothic Neighbourhood. Apen Ruiz. Independent Scholar [Spain]

The Gothic Quarter, at the heart of Barcelona (Catalonia) gathers together several cultural spaces where ruins (especially Roman) take a prominent role of inhabitant’s daily life. Relying on different disciplinary understandings of the city, and using several ethnographic approaches we explore how heritage mediates in the constitution of urban places and “non-places” in the Gothic Quarter. In the presentation I will present different methodologies that have been used to study the relation of the archaeological heritage located in the public space and the social fabric of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona. In order to encourage approaches to cultural heritage that are people-centered, inclusive, sustainable and cross sectorial, we need to understand not only how different disciplines and knowledges approach cultural heritage but also how different collectives, peoples and associations living in the city dialogue, sometimes even without explicitly knowing it, with heritage in their everyday life. This work is framed in a political moment that Barcelona privileges participative practices as a tool of social empowerment, in this context we explore how heritage is entering in this incipient institutionalization of participation understood as a tool of social empowerment.

12.30-14.00 – Round Table: A matter of prepositions? On the politics of engagement in Mediterranean archaeology. Chair: Jaime Almansa-Sánchez; Table: Dimitris Plantzos, Ianir Milevski, Francesca Benetti, Apen Ruiz and Ignacio Rodríguez Temiño.

This round table will delve into how archaeological heritage management shapes the way archaeology related with the public in the broader sense. From a focus on research and preservation to a will to bring more tourists, the few social [institutional] agendas we can see in the Mediterranean are usually shaped by political agendas linked to identity and development. Can archaeology emancipate towards a more democratic practice? Do we want to?

*At the same time, there will be activities in the Instituto Cervantes, including a photo-text exhibition about archaeological heritage management and some other events.