International Conference of the Austrian Society for Medieval and Modern Archaeology, 17th to 20th September 2024

Between Diversity and Uniformity. Identity formation from a (trans-)regional perspective.

Dear colleagues,

We warmly invite you to contribute to the international conference of the Austrian Society for Medieval and Modern Archaeology from 17th to 20th September 2024 in Lebring-St. Margarethen (Styria/Austria).

The conference will be held in cooperation with

• Kulturpark Hengist
• University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology
• University of Graz, Institute for Classics
• University of Salzburg, Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture
• University of Vienna, Institute of Prehistory and Historical Archaeology
• Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Institute of Archaeology
• Dachverband archäologischer Studierendenvertretungen e. V.
• Forschungsnetzwerk Interdisziplinäre Regionalstudien/Forschungsverbund Regionalitäten

Conference topic

Cultural phenomena can be characterised as products of social standardisation processes. From an archaeological perspective, relics of material culture can also be recognised and analysed in terms of their spatial distribution. They are thus, on the one hand, expressions of spatially condensed social identity and, on the other hand, of communicative relationships that clearly extend beyond specific social frameworks with more or less spatial stability.

Thus “culture” as a form of expression of social identities is always subject to the interplay of homogenisation and differentiation and is both the starting point and the product of dynamic negotiation processes that can also be analysed from a socio-spatial perspective.

Looking at the Middle Ages and Modern Period in Europe, both homogenisations and differentiations of objects of material culture can be observed. This can concern specific groups of objects, such as the standardisation of late medieval dress accessories with simultaneous regional differentiation in pottery. However, it is also important to clarify whether there are certain periods in which several cultural phenomena occur simultaneously across regions. The aim of the conference is not so much to describe these phenomena as to identify and discuss possible reasons for regional differentiation versus supraregional homogenisation of cultural phenomena on the basis of these.

In line with current research (COCHRANE 2018, JESSOP 2018), “region” is understood here as a medium-sized space of action and communication that can be located between local communities (a village, a city, etc.) and supra-regional to global spatial units. At the same time, the term stands in the field of tension between political territories – see regio for the Roman administrative units in Italia or “cuius regio, eius religio” in the Augsburg Religious Peace of 1555 – and regions as spaces of condensed social identities (“Europe of the regions”). It is therefore also important to ask how political territories and “cultural spaces” related to each other. At the same time, it is necessary to consider that people always belong to several identities, they do it through social gender, age, profession, socio-economic position, religion, ethnicity, etc. and thus also operate in different social spaces that overlap. In connection with this, the question also arises to what extent social stratification is reflected in diversification of material culture and to what extent the ranges of homogeneous cultural forms of expression differ.

The following questions form the framework of the conference:

• What reasons can be identified for cultural homogenisation and differentiation processes?
• Did political territories have an influence on cultural homogenisation and differentiation processes and why (not)?
• How is physical space related to spatially tangible cultural processes? Do e.g. favourable transport spaces (common location on a sea, a river etc.) play a role in transregional cultural standardisations?
• Can phenomena of cultural transfer be observed in a diachronic perspective that had an effect on trans-regional homogenisation or differentiation? If so, why?
• To what extent did major socio-cultural orientations/changes (e.g. confessional fragmentation in Christianity, Latin versus Greek Middle Ages) trigger regional and trans-regional cultural processes?
• What is the relationship between majority and minority societies?
• How can (trans-)regional cultural expressions be identified and interpreted as “overlapping/intersecting spaces” (MASSEY 1992) from the perspective of material culture?

This catalogue of questions is open and can be extended by further aspects. Spatially and temporally, contributions from the entire second post-Christian millennium (High Middle Ages to contemporary archaeology) are accepted; geographically, the focus is on Europe, although global-historical contributions relating to Europe as a “world region” are also welcome. In particular, we hope to receive papers from neighbouring countries in the Western Balkans and (south-)eastern Central Europe. There is no restriction on content, we are also looking forward to offers from neighbouring disciplines such as numismatics, historical studies or art history. Thematic sections will be formed on the basis of the submissions. In addition to lectures (speaking time: 20 minutes), poster presentations (short presentations: 5 minutes, plus poster hanging) are possible. In addition, a thematically open session for the presentation of ongoing student theses (Master, PhD) is planned.

Submission of abstracts

Please submit abstracts with the name or names of the speakers and an informative title by email to by January 31, 2024, at the latest. The abstract should contain a maximum of 1500 characters including spaces, preferably unformatted. The conference committee will decide which presentations shall be accepted. You are also welcome to submit a proposal for a poster (DIN A1 format).

Conference fee

€ 110 – (including lunch, excl. optional excursion on Friday)

Reduced conference fee for students and young scholars: € 70, (including lunch, excl. optional excursion on Friday). Applications for further reductions may be accepted in accordance with further subventions granted.

A publication of the conference proceedings is planned for the following volume of the Beiträge zur Mittelalterarchäologie in Österreich (publication date 2025).

The organisers and the conference committee are very much looking forward to your participation.
Please contact us if you have further questions:

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