Mellon Research Initiative: Events

Archaeology, Heritage, and the Mediation of Time

April 12-13, 2013

Archaeology, Heritage, and the Mediation of Time considered how changing concepts, measures, and representations of time are redefining the field of archaeological enquiry. The establishment of archaeology as an independent discipline was closely linked to the recovery of ‘deep time’, and to the emergence in Europe of a secular framework for the measurement of global time in the nineteenth century. Today, however, archaeology’s traditional role as a producer of long-term narratives, linking the remote past to the present, is questioned from a variety of different directions. Cultural heritage, in developing its own body of theory, engages with archaeology primarily in terms of memory rather than duration: the past as an infinitely malleable strategic resource for the present, rather than as a distinct record of past human activities with its own rhythms, resistances, and ways of inhabiting time. And archaeological understandings of deep time are themselves being transformed by high precision chronometric modeling, which now promises an end to ‘fuzzy timescales’, offering the prospect of generational scales of analysis, even for early periods of prehistory.

Exploring the visual cognition of time, and the mediation of temporal experience through archaeological landscapes and materials, this colloquium formed a bridge to the art history and conservation strands of the IFA’s Mellon Research Initiative. Discussion was structured around three complementary areas: 1) Archaeological Representations of Time in Historical Perspective; 2) The Status of the Long-term within Contemporary Archaeological Interpretation; and 3) Divergent Temporalities of Archaeology and Heritage. The proceedings began with a plenary lecture on April 12th by Alain Schnapp of the University of Paris 1 (‘Visions of the Past and the Deep Origins of World Archaeology’). Two sessions followed on April 13th, including presentations by Zoe Crossland, Shannon Lee Dawdy, Ian Hodder, Gavin Lucas, Patricia McAnany, and Tim Murray.

SPEAKERS:

Matthew Adams, Senior Research Scholar, Institute of Fine Arts-NYU
Zoe Crossland, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Columbia
Shannon Lee Dawdy, Associate Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences, University of Chicago
Ian Hodder, Dunlevie Family Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University
Gavin Lucas, Assistant Director, Institute of Archaeology, Iceland
Clemente Marconi, James R. McCredie Professor in the History of Greek Art and Archaeology; University Professor, Institute of Fine Arts-NYU
Patricia McAnany, Kenan Eminent Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tim Murray, Charles La Trobe Professor of Archaeology, La Trobe University
David O’Connor, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Ancient Egyptian Art, Institute of Fine Arts-NYU; Co-Director, Yale University-University of Pennsylvania-Institute of Fine Arts, NYU Excavations at Abydos
Alain Schnapp, Professor of Classical Archaeology, University of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne)

This conference is convened by David Wengrow (Professor of Comparative Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University College London) as part of the IFA’s Mellon Research Initiative.

AGENDA:

Friday, April 12, 2013

4:00
Registration

4:30
Welcome and Introductions: Patricia Rubin (Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University)

5:00
Plenary lecture: Alain Schnapp (Professor of Classical Archaeology, University of Paris I): Visions of the Past and the Deep Origins of World Archaeology: A Comparative Iconography of Antiquarianism

Response: David O’Connor (Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Ancient Egyptian Art, Institute of Fine Arts-NYU; Co-Director, Yale University-University of Pennsylvania-Institute of Fine Arts, NYU Excavations at Abydos)

6:00
Reception

Saturday, April 13, 2013

9:00
Registration

9:30
Welcome

9:45
Session I: Changing Horizons: Time and Temporality in Contemporary Archaeological Interpretation

Chair: Clemente Marconi (James R. McCredie Professor in the History of Greek Art and Archaeology; University Professor, Institute of Fine Arts-NYU)

10:00-10:45
Tim Murray
(Charles La Trobe Professor of Archaeology, La Trobe University):
Time and archaeological theory - past, present and future

10:45-11:30
Ian Hodder (Dunlevie Family Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University):
Why what happened 10,000 years ago limits choice today; entanglement and long-term path dependency'

11:30-12:15M
Gavin Lucas
(Assistant Director, Institute of Archaeology, Iceland):
The problem of contemporaneity in archaeology

12:15-1:00
Break

1:00-2:40
Mellon Student grantee presentations:
Andrea Achi
Kirsten Lee
Brian Castriota
Rachel Boate
Allyson McDavid

2:40-3:00
Break

3:00
Session II:  Reconciling Divergent Temporalities? Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
Chair: Matthew Adams (Senior Research Scholar, Institute of Fine Arts-NYU)

3:15-4:00
Shannon Lee Dawdy (Associate Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences, University of Chicago):
The antique as totemic aesthetic

4:00-4:45
Zoe Crossland (Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Columbia):
Looking forward, looking backward. Anticipating the future from the past in highland Madagascar

4:45-4:55
Break

4:55-5:40
Patricia McAnany (Kenan Eminent Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill):
Reconciling apocalyptic temporalities of archaeology with folded-time epistemologies of Maya cultural heritage

5:40-6:00
Discussion
Led by David Wengrow, Professor of Comparative Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University College London

Video of the conference


Mellon Research Initiative: Archaeology, Heritage, and the Mediation of Time, part one.

Watch the entire conference here

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