Archaeological, philological and historical perspectives

The Centre for the Study of Ancient Worlds at the UCL organizes an international round table on 24-25-26 November 2011 at Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

This international round table proposes to explore the various aspects of the destruction phenomenon. It follows three earlier attempts to discuss the same issue, at York (published as ‘An Archaeology of Destruction, ed. L. Racoczy, Cambridge, 2008), Paris (lecture cycle at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in 2006-2007) and Brussels (D. Engels, D. Martens and A. Wilkin (eds.), ‘La destruction à travers l’histoire. Pratiques et discours’, Peter Lang, 2011, forthcoming). Destruction refers to some form of damage inflicted to an object, a system or a being. It can be conceived as the measurable degree of damage which usually exceeds the stage during which repair is still possible. It can also be conceived as the result of considerable and final damage. To understand destruction is only easy at first sight. Archaeologists often encounter destruction deposits caused by human or natural causes. Identifying the reasons, process and impact of such destructions proves sometimes to be much harder. But not all destructions should necessarily be considered as negative events: the deliberate destruction of Neolithic residences in the Balkan, Anatolia and the Levant, as illustrated by studies by Stevanovic, Tringham and Verhoeven, or the intentional fragmentation of objects as integral part of a symbolic chain as proposed by J. Chapman, form two new ways of looking at this phenomenon. Moreover, destruction as a time related concept has hardly been explored (L. Olivier).The ways to approach the phenomenon are hence extremely diverse and our meeting will benefit from the exchange of views between archaeologists, historians, art historians, anthropologists and philologists.

Scholars who already have expressed a wish to attend include: L. Olivier, J. Chapman, R. Tringham, R. Pierobon Benoit, G. Traina, A. Busine, M. Cavalieri, J. Driessen, T. Cunningham, S. Jusseret, L. Girella, D. Puglisi, D. Haggis, C. Knappett, F. Gaignerot-Driessen, L. Meulemans, S. Piermarini, L. Brossard, M.V. Garcia Quintela et L. Thely.

Participants will have 20 minutes to present their paper, followed by a discussion of 10 minutes. The languages of the round table will be English and French. The texts of the papers will be published.