The interactions between humans and the rocky substrate have generated engraved landscapes across the globe, manifesting in diverse forms and spanning various epochs. The past human activity of digging rock outcrops produced different features, among which two macro-categories stand out:
– rock-cut spaces linked to human life and death;
– quarries for extracting materials for different purposes.
Although these two categories serve different functions, there are conceptual and physical links between the structures carved into the bedrock and quarry areas. Similarities can be identified in the techniques employed for rock carving and, consequently, in the networks for the transmission of knowledge and know-how. Quarries and rock-cut structures often coexist within the same rock formation, or overlap with one another, creating a complex landscape in which the interaction between human communities and the bedrock is enhanced.
Over the past decade, an international group of researchers has engaged in discussions regarding the methodological and theoretical complexities of investigating stone quarries and rock-cut sites spanning from Prehistory to the present day. The International ReseArch group on quArries and Rock-cut sites (IRAAR), started as a collaborative effort, originating in France, from two distinct research groups: one working on quarries and construction (Séminaires de recherche Carrières et construction, Laboratoire de Médiévistique Occidentale de Paris, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Université Paris 06) and the other on rock-cut sites (Annual symposium organized in Saint-Martin-le Vieil, Aude).
This conference marks the second gathering of the IRAAR network. The first meeting, held online in 2021, focused on techniques and methods for analyzing carvings, extraction processes and traces of tools left on the rock surfaces. In this second event, the theme broadens to encompass a more extensive exploration of the landscapes and environments surrounding rock-cut structures and stone quarries. The specific discussion in this field of research begins with questions of an archaeological nature but expands to transdisciplinary encounters with connections and hybridisations with anthropology, sociology, geography, geology and ecology.
The event will be hosted at the IFEA (French Institute for Anatolian Studies) in Istanbul (Turkey) on 23rd and 24th May 2024.
Four thematic sessions have been outlined:
– The first will focus on the stratigraphic understanding of the landscape through the study of rock-cut structures and stone quarries. This session allows us to reflect on new approaches and conceptions of stone material as a stratified archaeological palympsest. Its integration into a historical landscape is made possible thanks to digital tools and technologies (GIS, relational database, data models). However, a challenge is presented in terms of effectively harmonizing the temporal dimension (stratigraphy) with the spatial one, landscape.
– The second will bring together researchers on stone ecology and multi-species interactions in carved landscapes. A particular emphasis will be placed on ecological aspects and the analysis of multiproxy data to gain insight into how the articulation of relationships between humans, rocks, animals and plants has evolved over the centuries.
– A third session will address landscape-scale concepts of technical environments and taskscape, bringing 20th century anthropological concepts to current anthropological research directions. This will address the issue of epistemology: the articulation, similarities and differences of notions of space and environment.
– A fourth session will focus on cultural sociology and the notion of heritage at different scales. The purpose of this panel is to open the debate on societal issues by involving sociologists, international relations researchers, geographers…
Contributions on the themes evoked in the call, and in particular abstracts with transdisciplinary aspects, are welcome. Funding will be available for students and PhD students presenting a contribution in the framework of the conference (more detailed information will soon be available).
The abstracts should be in English and no longer than 300 words.
Applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 18 December 2023.