The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology

Conference: Late Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology in Germany, Britain and Ireland

20 September — 22 September 2017

Call for Papers
Late Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology in Germany, Britain and Ireland: New Directions and Approaches
Joint conference of DGAMN and SPMA
Wednesday 20 – Friday 22 September 2017
German Maritime Museum – Leibniz-Institute for German Maritime History, Bremerhaven, Germany

In 2017 the German Society of Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Archäologie des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit, DGAMN) and the UK-based Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology (SPMA) will come together for the first time for a joint conference. Both societies pursue similar goals, and the main objective of this conference is to bring the two organisations and their members closer together in order to facilitate potential future collaborations and projects.

The focus of this conference will be the similarities and differences in approaches practised on both sides of the North Sea. Papers will offer opportunities to engage with the current state of research and future directions for the archaeology of the late medieval and post-medieval (including modern) periods in Germany, Britain and Ireland. Your paper suggestions should relate to one (or more) of the following core themes:

1) Theoretical and methodological approaches
Which sociocultural concepts and phenomena can be investigated by means of late medieval and post-medieval archaeology? Which sources and methods are available to pursue this? When and why are there period boundaries (late Middle Ages / early modern period / modernity)? Relevant keywords would include pan-European colonialism, nationalism, industrialisation, consumerism and globalization. Is archaeology interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary?

2) Cultural Heritage Management
Cultural heritage management is confronted with a number of problems in regard to research, conservation, and documentation of relics of the recent past. Because of dissimilar legal frameworks, research traditions and practices within cultural heritage management are rather different on both sides of the North Sea. Key questions here might include: what to do with remnants of the Second World War and the industrial heritage? How should we deal with the artefactual record of mass production? How do archaeologists engage with the investigation of standing buildings? How are late medieval and post-medieval archaeology impacted by ethical issues (such as the study of human remains)? What successful approaches to cultural heritage management already exist and might be implemented more widely?

3) Material Culture Studies
Modern material culture studies have advanced considerably in recent years on both sides of the North Sea. However, there are still materials and assemblages that remain unstudied. Questions here might include: how dating methods and approaches can be applied to modern material culture, and where the limits to archaeological analysis might lie. What should we do with objects made of recent materials such as plastic? What does the study of material culture mean for the understanding of consumerism, for questions regarding everyday life, and for networks (however defined)? What role do modern objects play in museum exhibitions, and how should they be interpreted as archaeology?

4) Maritime Archaeology
Through the Hanseatic League connections between Britain and Germany, and the development of maritime trade (including colonial trade) across the medieval and post-medieval periods, maritime archaeology potentially provides a rich collaborative research environment. Here presentations might engage with themes such as examining the current state of research in late medieval and post-medieval maritime archaeology. What is the focus of maritime archaeology, and why has it focused on specific themes? What is the role of the industrial maritime heritage? What are the approaches of the cultural heritage agencies for maritime cultural heritage?

The conference will take place on 20 to 22 September 2017 at the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven. Conference languages are English and German, but we encourage paper submissions in English. A short tour of Bremerhaven is planned for the afternoon of Friday 22 September; a tour of Bremen is scheduled for Saturday 23 September.

Please submit your paper abstracts (up to 250 words) by 30 April 2017 to Dr Natascha Mehler at