Wednesday, 22 May 2013

NEW EVENT: 47th Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology

The Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) and the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (ACUA) will hold their 47th Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology in Québec City, Canada, from January 8–12, 2014.

The Call for Papers opened on May 1, 2013.

The organizing committee has chosen the theme “Questions that count, a critical evaluation of historical archaeology in the 21st century”, which will permit the archaeological community to take the measure of its development over the past quarter century, all while spanning the transition into the new millennium.

The SHA first asked eminent archaeologists to identify questions that count at the plenary session of the 20th Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology in Savannah, Georgia, in 1987. We now pose this question to the broader archaeological community. The diverse sectors of the SHA and ACUA communities are invited to assess their progress, orientations and priorities. The responses may be very different from one sector to another, surprising some and confounding others. More importantly, it is crucial to allow each segment of our community to express its own views on the current and future situation of the discipline.

Historical archaeology has evolved both globally and locally. There has been a diverse integration of new technologies, forms of media, analytical methods, and participants. Community-based programs, public and descendant archaeology, and the experience of archaeological practice have all evolved over the last quarter century. To use antiquated parlance, dirt archaeologists are faced with a dizzying array of possibilities while they must still rise to the challenge of maintaining quality practice in an age of an explosion of sources and media. Other archaeologists are focused almost exclusively on analytical methods. How can we encourage best practices for all amidst a new array of questions that all seem to count?

Québec City is a place to rejoice in the old and explore the new as you can see in a recent special issue of Post-Medieval Archaeology (Volume 43, Part 1, 2009), “The Recent Archaeology of the Early Modern Period in Québec City. One of the oldest cities in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also a hub for exploring new media and technology. Cutting-edge analytical methods available in local laboratories have permitted experimentation in local archaeology, and new technologies have been incorporated into the public presentation of some of our most significant sites. The city is also at the boundary of land and sea, wedged between Cap-aux-Diamants and the majestic St. Lawrence River, where an immigrant European population met with First Nations peoples during the 16th century. We propose themes that explore these boundaries while posing questions that count or that continue to count, and invite archaeologists from all communities to present new research in their archaeological practices.

The SHA and the ACUA help students participate in the annual conference. If you are a student, it’s time to start planning your participation in the 2014 conference. The conference theme, Questions that count, is of particular interest to you because you will be dealing with and working through these questions. This is an excellent opportunity to take part in defining your future! Start preparing your request for financial support through one of the many programs available from the SHA and the ACUA. For detailed information and application forms, visit the conference webpage.

William Moss
Conference Chair

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