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Conversations on Byzantine Archaeology in North America

April 9-10, 2010

Byzantine archaeology is a rapidly developing area with profound implications for the future of the subject. But it has very little infrastructure in North America: no established chars, few graduate programs, little available field training. Even creating opportunities for an exchange of views is difficult, sometimes easier in the host countries in the field than in North America. This has the result that scholars find it hard to cross the political boundaries; few archaeologists work in both Greece and Turkey, for example. Honorable exceptions are panels at the AIA, and MGSA, and blogs set up by individuals, as well as many interdisciplinary initiatives. There is anxiety about finding and training the next generation of archaeologists in such a fragmented practice, particularly in specialist fields like ceramics. And then of course there are problems in placing students once they have qualified. All in all it appears more difficult at present to be a Byzantine archaeologist than any other kind of Byzantinist, while the results can change the field more rapidly and fundamentally then in any other discipline. This is why were are holding a series of conversations in April 2010 in Dumbarton Oaks on achievements and challenges and the future. We hope that we can arrive at suggestions which can improve opportunities in the field, and in which Dumbarton Oaks can play some part.

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