Archaeology, Heritage, and the Mediation of Time – April 12-13

IFA 1 East 78th Street, New York City

Fri, April 12, 5pm – Sat, April 13, 6pm

Please note: This event is open to the public, but an RSVP is required. More details here:

Archaeology, Heritage, and the Mediation of Time will consider how changing concepts, measures, and representations of time are redefining the field of archaeological enquiry. The establishment of archaeology as an independent discipline was closely linked to the recovery of ‘deep time’, and to the emergence in Europe of a secular framework for the measurement of global time in the nineteenth century. Today, however, archaeology’s traditional role as a producer of long-term narratives, linking the remote past to the present, is questioned from a variety of different directions. Cultural heritage, in developing its own body of theory, engages with archaeology primarily in terms of memory rather than duration: the past as an infinitely malleable strategic resource for the present, rather than as a distinct record of past human activities with its own rhythms, resistances, and ways of inhabiting time. And archaeological understandings of deep time are themselves being transformed by high precision chronometric modeling, which now promises an end to ‘fuzzy timescales’, offering the prospect of generational scales of analysis, even for early periods of prehistory.


Exploring the visual cognition of time, and the mediation of temporal experience through archaeological landscapes and materials, this colloquium forms a bridge to the art history and conservation strands of the IFA’s Mellon Research Initiative. Discussion is structured around three complementary areas: 1) Archaeological Representations of Time in Historical Perspective; 2) The Status of the Long-term within Contemporary Archaeological Interpretation; and 3) Divergent Temporalities of Archaeology and Heritage. The proceedings begin with a plenary lecture on April 12th by Alain Schnapp of the University of Paris 1 (‘Visions of the Past and the Deep Origins of World Archaeology’). Two sessions will follow on April 13th, including presentations by Zoe Crossland, Shannon Lee Dawdy, Ian Hodder, Gavin Lucas, Patricia McAnany, and Tim Murray.



Matthew Adams, Senior Research Scholar, Institute of Fine Arts-NYU

Zoe Crossland, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Columbia

Shannon Lee Dawdy, Associate Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences, University of Chicago

Ian Hodder, Dunlevie Family Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University

Gavin Lucas, Assistant Director, Institute of Archaeology, Iceland Clemente Marconi,

James R. McCredie Professor in the History of Greek Art and Archaeology; University Professor, Institute of Fine Arts-NYU

Patricia McAnany, Kenan Eminent Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tim Murray, Charles La Trobe Professor of Archaeology, La Trobe University

David O’Connor, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Ancient Egyptian Art, Institute of Fine Arts-NYU; Co-Director, Yale University-University of Pennsylvania-Institute of Fine Arts, NYU Excavations at Abydos

Alain Schnapp, Professor of Classical Archaeology, University of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne)

This conference is convened by David Wengrow (Professor of Comparative Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University College London) as part of the IFA’s Mellon Research Initiative.


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