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The University of Sydney


13-15 FEBRUARY 2023

hosted online by the University of Sydney


The third annual meeting of the Mediterranean Archaeology Australasian Research Community (MAARC), will took place from Monday 13 to Wednesday 15 February 2023 (online via Zoom) hosted by The University of Sydney with the support of the Department of Archaeology, Chau Chak Wing Museum, Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens and Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation.


The full program for the 2023 conference is now avalaible.

Keynote Lecture

The Ancient Methone Archaeological Project

Ancient Methone (Pieria) was a major port and industrial center in northern Greece from the first millennium B.C. until Philip II of Macedon destroyed the city in 354 B.C., and in the process lost his right eye. Excavations at the site since 2003 have unearthed Bronze Age burials, important Early Iron Age deposits and inscriptions and direct evidence of the
Macedonian siege, destruction, and aftermath, thereby extending the history of the settlement from the Late Neolithic period past the fourth century B.C. In 2012 an international team from UCLA joined the Ephorate of Antiquities of Pieria to study and publish these discoveries, and as the Ancient Methone Archaeological Project, launched a fresh phase of multidisciplinary fieldwork from 2014 to 2017, the results of which are presented here.

About our speaker:

Professor John K. Papadopoulos has excavated widely in Australia, both on Aboriginal and historic sites, and in Greece, Italy and Albania. He has been a member of the excavation team at Torone in northern Greece since 1979 and field director of the excavations, as well as the geophysical and underwater surveys, from 1986 to 1995.

He was co-director of the UCLA-Institute of Archaeology at Tirana excavations at the pre- and protohistoric burial tumulus of Lofkënd in Albania, and is currently working, with Greek and American colleagues, at the site of Methone in Pieria, north Greece. He is also currently working on a two-volume publication of the Early Iron Age material from the Athenian Agora, the first of which will appear as Agora XXXVI.

Thematic Panels

Everything changed when Mediterranean systems collapsed! Causation, effect, and responses to the Late Bronze Age collapse.

The Late Bronze Age collapse (ca. 1200 BCE) and its aftermath saw vast economic, cultural, and political upheaval throughout the Mediterranean. Major sites were destroyed or abandoned, populations migrated, and power centres became decentralised with the breakdown of palatial redistribution. Although the collapse, its causes, and aftermath have been the subject of investigation over the years, it remains a hotly debated topic. Some scholars have argued for a single cause—such as warfare or environmental stress—while others have emphasised that the widespread destructions were the result of a variety of factors.

This panel seeks papers exploring causes, responses, and the aftermath of this disruptive period across the Mediterranean and neighbouring Near Eastern cultures. Why were some sites abandoned, some destroyed, and how did some avoid dramatic decline? Participants may attempt to address this topic from a social, political, economic, or material perspective in their quest to understand how different regions caused or responded to their own upheavals. Alternatively, participants may choose to investigate a snapshot of this period by drawing on various categories of evidence—approaches may draw upon iconographical, textual, or other evidence.


Panel organisers: Samantha Mills, Emily Simons, Madeline Bowers:


Images of Women, Images by Women? Finding female artists in the ancient world (Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies Sponsored Panel)

Interest in female agency in the arts is at an all time high, with the example of contemporary to Renaissance and medieval creators of painting, sculpture and music all the subject of intense study. The archaeology of the ancient world is beginning to follow suit, e.g. with explorations of women crafting painted pottery (Murray 2020), and composing the choral and lyric songs which they are shown performing (Klinck 2008). Progress has also been made on researching the production of textiles from the home to industrial scale, and in family-based businesses of all varieties, from Piraeus’ factories to Eumachia’s fullers’ building on the Forum at Pompeii. However, too many assumptions about the arts in Antiquity still impede our understanding of gender-based craftsmanship, and the wider Greek, Roman and Mediterranean societies which created and consumed art, and artefacts. This AWAWS-sponsored panel calls for abstracts from Australasian-based scholars of the ancient world, at any stage of study, which explore questions of gender and artisanal production in the ancient Mediterranean world.

Panel organiser: Dr Amelia Brown:


Murray, Sarah C. The Dipylon Mistress: Social and Economic Complexity, the Gendering of Craft Production, and Early Greek Ceramic Material Culture, American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 124, No. 2 (April 2020), p. 215–244, DOI: 10.3764/aja.124.2.0215

Klinck, Anne L. Woman’s Songs in Ancient Greece, Montreal 2020.


Museums and collections in Australasia

Collections of Mediterranean antiquities reside in university, national, state, and independent museums and galleries across the region. This panel brings together professionals who care for these collections, wherever they might be located, to explore shared perspectives, themes and challenges.


Artefact Talks - Lightening Round: presentations on a “problem object” that relates to the theme: Fakes, copies, restoration, and authenticity. The presentations will be followed by a roundtable discussion.


How do museums and collections deal with the challenges of using and displaying both material and digital replicas and copies, communicating uncertainty around restoration and reconstruction, and telling the stories of forgery? We invite proposals to speak on an object in an Australasian collection which addresses this question or an aspect of it (e.g. writing a label for a problem object, problematic terminology).


Panel Papers on the following topics:

Hybrid environments – How did museums and collections approach the challenge of managing hybrid (physical and digital) environments in exhibitions, education, and programming resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic?

Provenance – How are Australasian museums and collections engaging in provenance research, and utilising sources such as archival collections?

Community – How do we engage our organisations, and communities, with our collections and communicate their value?

Definitions – Part of the ICOM definition of a museum approved in 2022 states that museums ‘foster diversity and sustainability’. How are Australasian museums engaging with these themes?


Panel organisers: James Donaldson and Dr Alina Kozlovski.


The History of Mediterranean Archaeological Research in the Antipodes

2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney by AD Trendall; the first academic department in Australia dedicated to the teaching and research of archaeology. Under Trendall and James Stewart’s guidance, the archaeology of the Mediterranean region was to be a key focus of activities by Sydney. Other Universities in Australia and New Zealand followed suit, and of course there were collections of Mediterranean antiquities and classes using material culture prior to this process of formalising archaeological teaching in Australia, as well as Antipodeans working in the field in significant ways. This session aims to celebrate and spotlight that long history.

The session invites papers which enable an opportunity to examine any aspect of the personalities, projects and teaching and research of Australian and New Zealand archaeologists who have worked in the Mediterranean. Presentations on archival and biographical research and investigations of scholarly and public impact of past excavations, teaching practices and research projects are invited. Papers examining the role of Mediterranean trained archaeologist on the wider development of the discipline of archaeology in Australasia are also encouraged. Papers spotlighting under recognised research and scholarship are particularly welcome.

The session will review current scholarship and research into the history of Australasian Mediterranean archaeological research, including biographies, reassessments of early excavations and publications, and impact and allow us an opportunity to ask how we may be able to present histories of Australian archaeological impact to wider audiences in future.

Panel organiser: Dr Craig Barker.

Epigraphy in Mediterranean Archaeology: Texts and Contexts

The study of inscriptions is both daunting for the beginner and frustrating for even the most expert epigrapher. Even with the development of searchable databases of inscriptions, there are still issues of access and, importantly, we need to recognise that, in many cases, the collection of knowledge of these texts is legacy data. It is a legacy of many different contexts from the Renaissance to European colonialism and more recently from communist eastern Europe. This panel seeks to explore the potential of the study of epigraphy to better understand the issues around the creation of this dataset for archaeology in the Mediterranean, and for its effective use in the context of the 21st century.


We would welcome offers of papers particularly in the following areas:

Fakes and authenticity

Digital approaches to epigraphy

On-site contextualisation of inscriptions

Unpicking the colonial encounter with epigraphy (for example in Africa)

Global, local and glocal approaches to epigraphy

Contextualising inscriptions to their carved context

Panel organisers: Prof. Ray Laurence and Prof. Peter Keegan.


Violence in the Mediterranean World

What can the archaeological record really tell us about the nature of violence? How does this inform our understanding of past societies, and how has the use of violence changed over time?

This panel seeks to explore the wide-ranging forms that violence takes and how these are evident in the archaeological record. This may include bioarchaeological evidence of trauma, indicative of domestic, interpersonal or large-scale violence; how violence shaped identity construction and the ways in which these identities were manifested and projected. How does archaeology inform our understanding of enslavement and forced migrations, violent by their very nature, but more difficult to detect archaeologically?

In what ways have acts of violence been commemorated? What do these commemorations say about societal receptions of, and relationships with, violence?

This panel seeks to explore these issues over the long durée, from antiquity to the modern era. Maintaining a broad definition of violence and not restricting the temporal scope, it is the aim of this panel to draw speakers, and participants, from a broad spectrum of archaeological sub-disciplines for an engaging session (or two).

Panel organiser: Dr Yvonne Inall.


Digital Humanities, Public Engagement and Community Participation in Archaeology / Applications of Digital Archaeology in Mediterranean Archaeology

Technology and the digital humanities are an ever-growing part of educational and archaeological practice. Digital methodologies have become integral to modern excavation, interpretation, distribution, and public outreach. Digital photography, 3D modelling, database management, and geographic information systems are now standard in archaeological practice, and with global internet access now nearing five billion people, it has never been easier for communities to engage with and explore archaeological research and heritage. The technologies which archaeologists can employ now offer unique opportunities to showcase one’s work. Technologies, such as online databases, photogrammetry, virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D printing, are more cost-effective and easier than ever to use for research and outreach. This has only bolstered the ability for rich community engagement, for both educational and entertainment purposes.

This session explores approaches of using technology both within the field and afterwards to teach and introduce archaeology and heritage to various audiences and communities. It is targeted towards papers with case studies illustrating innovative uses of technology to undertake excavation, conduct archaeological analyses, and connect with audiences, as well as studies which have examined the impact that such technology had on generating public interest. This session also seeks to examine limitations in the use of technological platforms in research, educational or entertainment contexts. Papers exploring impacts on general audiences, children, school groups, tertiary students, and seniors are welcome.

Panel organisers: Thomas Romanis and Thomas Keep.

Archaeology Film Festival

As part of the program for MAARC2023 we will host an online short film festival celebrating Australasian archaeology in the Mediterranean region. 

Your organising committee for 2023 are:

Craig Barker, Yvonne Inall, Melissa Kennedy, Joseph Lehner, Stavros Paspalas, Melanie Pitkin, Candace Richards and Holly Winter

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