Calls for Papers/Jun 19, 2019

Value Concepts: Hoards in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Value Concepts: Hoards in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages lead image

Value Concepts: Hoards in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: Practices, Contexts, Meanings, 14th session of the study group "Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages"/AG Spätantike und Frühmittelalter, Frankfurt am Main, October 9–11, 2019

Although late Roman and early medieval hoards often consist of extraordinary objects. the actual phenomenon itself has not recently been the focus of extensive discussion. Most continental research has focused on findings attributed to armed conflicts or ritual deposition. Waste or scrap, for example, have only seldom been the centre of debate. A review of literature on prehistoric counterparts may have been underestimated. Moreover, the dichotomy between religious and profane interpretations of hoards should be questioned.

Besides shedding light on fundamental questions concerning e.g. the character of depositions in "Christian times", a general analysis of hoards can provide insights into ritual practices, value concepts and socio-economic change in various early historical societies. The material, object types and chronology of single artefacts within a deposition are thereby just as important for interpretation as are its context, composition, and distribution of similar assemblages.

As a result of new findings, current research projects, but also in light of more recent theoretical and methodological approaches, the source material and prerequisites for interpretation have significantly expanded in recent years; the upcoming conference/workshop now offers the opportunity to examine either or both aspects anew. The conference aims to establish new perspectives on old and new findings, and to give a platform for current research on depositions from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. In light of recent theoretical and methodological developments, we will explore the source potential and interpretations of "hoards", and facilitate a transfer of ideas.

In this year's meeting of the AG Spätantike und Frühmittelalter, to be held from 9th to 11th October 2019 in Frankfurt am Main on the subject of "Value Concepts. Hoards in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages - Practices, Contexts, Meanings", new research will be presented considering the following aspects:

  • The variability of interpretations ranging from treasure to scrap, intention offering to random loss, cache to storage, means of payment to recycling material, offerings for the dead to stolen goods, public pomp to private hiding place, remnants of political alliances to investments in the future.
  • Transformations of materiality and material values.
  • Human-objet relationships and the relationality of space and time.
  • The transfer of meaning(s) and questioning thereof.
  • Religious and socio-cultural ideas and practices.
  • Regional distribution of hoards and cycles of depositions: synchronous and diachronic studies.
  • Potentials of new theoretical and methodological approaches.