This year, the annual Theoretical Archaeology Group conference is in Bradford, West Yorkshire, hosted by archaeologists in the School of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford between 14-16th December 2015. I am delighted to learn today that the session I am co-organising with Aurea Izquierdo-Zamora and Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores has been accepted. Our session is looking at the interplay between memory and mobility in past societies, focusing specifically on different dimensions of monumentality. Please consider submitting a paper title and abstract to my colleague Patricia via her email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is our session title and abstract.
Mobility, Monumentality and Memory in Past Societies
Aurea Izquierdo-Zamora, Patricia Murrieta-Flores and Howard Williams
Movement and mobility have been always essential and intrinsic activities for human survival. From the basic acts of looking for food and water, to more complex actions of social exchange and economic dynamics, to investigate the mobility of past societies is of crucial importance to understand key aspects such as identity formation, technological acquisition and innovation, political complexity and even social inequality. Recent studies of mobility in fields such as archaeology and anthropology have become increasingly important and have started to address, not only the evidence left of mobile practices at a landscape scale, but also to investigate the ways by which past societies make manifest their own views, experiences and traditions in this evidence.
For studies of prehistoric and historic monuments, relationships between monumentality and mobility foreground the central and complex roles of movement in the burial and commemoration of the dead, and the configuration of social memories by navigating, inhabiting, encountering and assembling things and people, thus materialising conjoined strategies of remembering and forgetting. From territorial connotations, to markers in the landscape, monuments seem crucial to understand issues of memory but also social tradition, economic practices, and the political hegemonies and resistances in societies that practiced mobility as a mode of subsistence. However, monuments and their relationship to mobility practices are also integral to comprehend social, economic and political networks of groups with other modes of subsistence. From nomads, to herding and agricultural societies, the relationship between mobility and monumentality requires further archaeological attention, and innovative theories and methodologies.
In this session, we will look to explore through theoretical debate and theorised case studies, how movement and mobility practices relate, affect, and influence material expressions of memory, and at the same time, how these feed back into spatial and monumental practices. This session welcomes papers exploring the archaeology of mobility, and particularly those that address the relationship between movement and expressions of memory, drawing upon archaeological, historical, anthropological and ethnographic evidence.