World Archaeology Temporary Places, Gatherings and Assemblies

Volume 50, Issue 2

World Archaeology

Although much archaeological discourse centres on physically prominent and enduring aspects of the material record such as monuments, cities and tombs, transitory activities and temporarily occupied places are equally vital to understanding the operation of social, economic and political networks in the past. Open air assemblies, for example, were a ratified mechanism for resolving feud and brokering power in early historic societies, and medieval fairs operated as places of barter, games and entertainment. Temporary camps are a well-recognised feature of mobile communities from the Palaeolithic to the present, but regular or sporadic gatherings, collective events and displays as well as transient, seasonal and liminal activities and sites are often overlooked in the study of complex societies. Recent attention to contemporary activities has, however, created powerful new discourses on festivals, peace camps and homeless shelters, revealing how the material culture related to temporary events and places, even in well-documented eras, can create compelling counter-narratives and challenge established orthodoxies. Gatherings, whether indoors/outdoors, urban/rural, regular, seasonal or resource-driven and one-off, can be intrinsic to forging a sense of collective identity and cohesion; managing competition; and determining oppositional identities of protest. Meetings and group events can stimulate territorialisation and regulate individual or collective power. This volume will explore the potential of site-based, excavated and artefactual evidence as well as topographic, cartographic, place name and historical sources for transient activities and gatherings at all points in the human past. Papers are especially welcome that explore evidence for temporary occupation and seasonal exploitation, fairs, games, legal or political assemblies, feasting, ceremonies, rallies, religious festivals and elite spectacles and mass events. These could comprise explorations of the material traces of such gatherings, their modes of operation, relationships to resource management and social networks, or consider topographic locality, spatial settings, and material and structural embellishments, and the appropriation and alteration of such places by competing groups and powers.

Submission Deadline

Submit your paper online via the journal's ScholarOne™ website: by 30th November 2017.

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