The Workshop

The Idea

"Excavating the Extra-Ordinary - Challenges & merits of working with small finds" is a topic we developed from our own experience. Working with small finds - which we understand in the broadest sense of the term - is challenging in many ways, but often extremely rewarding. Every excavator and scholar knows that astonishing conclusions can be drawn from analyzing seemingly “ordinary” finds. Nevertheless, we are all familiar with the trying work on huge amounts of pottery, often fragmentary heaps of worked wood, an abundance of poorly preserved ropes, baskets and bandages or infinitesimal traces of metal and much more. Moreover, they are often found in a disturbed or mixed context, which provides a difficult setting to deal with.

Our workshop aims at facing these challenges and highlighting the merits of working with disturbed contexts and seemingly unimpressive object groups. We wish to bring together scholars from all areas of object centered work, e.g. from excavations, museums and universities. In our discussion-centered workshop setting we intend to exchange ideas about methods, modi operandi and best practices, among others, but not exclusively focusing on:

  • How do you deal with largely disturbed contexts?
  • How do you manage a huge quantity of finds?
  • How do you identify specific items among mixed groups?
  • Which deeper insights do you gain by analyzing difficult objects and contexts?
  • Which methods proved useful to you and which not?
  • How do you cope with inconclusive results?
  • How can we increase awareness of the importance of publishing large amounts of “ordinary” objects?

The Format

Our aim is to provide a platform for extensive exchange on all aspects of working with small finds. Thus, we chose a discussion centered workshop format with two brief presentations of papers (20 mins each) per thematic section followed by 20 mins of discussion time. Presenters may send materials for the workshop participants to us in advance. We will send these materials to the participants prior to the workshop, so that they can better prepare for the exchange of ideas.
Furthermore, we offer the possibility to present ideas and topics in a poster session.

>>> The Program

The Funding

This workshop is generously funded by the JGU Mainz, Internal University Research Funding (Research and Technology Transfer) as well as the Department of Egyptology (Institute of Ancient Studies, JGU Mainz).