Call for papers: Environmental Archaeology of European Cities. Brussels, May 27-29, 2015

12/11/14 .-

Environmental Archaeology of European Cities

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences,
Brussels, Belgium
May 27-29, 2015

Call for papers


In the last decades there has been a significant increase in the use of environmental studies within urban archaeological contexts. Today, it can be stated that the full potential of the existing environmental archaeological approaches is not yet always reached. Therefore, the aim of the present conference is to assemble researchers (archaeologists, historians, geoarchaeologists, physical anthropologists, archaeozoologists and archaeobotanists) working on urban archaeology to share their experiences, to explore the development of their disciplines and to discuss how results from different approaches can be more fully integrated.


1. Complexity: urban site formation.

The challenges of environmental archaeological techniques relevant to urban archaeological studies will be considered, as well as the advancements that have been made on this topic in the last decade in Europe. In particular the discussion will focus on:

* Site stratigraphy and formation; “Dark Earths” and micro-stratified deposits (such as floor levels), often an important part of the urban stratigraphy;
* The urbanisation process;
* The integration of new methods and tools into the archaeological field work;
* From multi-disciplinarity to integrated research.

2.Urban economy.

Economic activities and their spatial distribution throughout the city especially considering:

* Food production within the city (extent of agro-pastoral activities) and the exchanges with the hinterland;
* Trade of plant and animal products;
* Artisanal activities and the pollution they might cause.

3. The personal life.

How did people live in the cities? More specifically:

* Evidence of health, diet, social status and general quality of life;
Social stratification as indicated by diet;
* Hygiene;
* Burial practices.

4. The urban environment.

The physical urban environment and its changes through time will be explored:

* Physical urban landscape and its changes (e.g. changes in relief and topography);
* Reconstruction of the local vegetation, fauna and other aspects of the environment in cities;
* The evolution of the hydrographic network associated with cities and its impact on the formation, development and functioning of the urban environment;
* Waste management.


The conference will be take place in Brussels, Belgium, which is conveniently and centrally located in Belgium and Europe.

The conference venue, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is situated in the center of Brussels and is less than 20 minutes train journey from Brussels Airport which has regular direct connections with over 60 cities across Europe as well as several direct connections to cities in Africa, SE Asia and N-America. Regular train services are linked with international railway stations where a connection can be made with high-speed trains to Amsterdam, London, Paris, Cologne and Frankfurt.

In the cours of its some 150-years’ existence, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, together with its Museum has retained the same fundamental scientific objective: to compile the inventory of all forms of life, past and present, but its scope has been steadily broadened to include the study of ecosystems and its applications for the protection of biodiversity. The Institute is the largest of the Belgian State scientific establishments, under the control of the department of federal science policy.

It is the most important centre for the dissemination of knowledge about natural sciences in Belgium and this through permanent and temporary exhibitions, publications and events which combine interactivity, pedagogical objectives and leisure activities for the largest possible audience.

It is an active participant, even a pioneer, in issues of scientific and museological cooperation, both at the European level and on a global scale, in a field where progress would be impossible without the existence of a network of knowledge and expertise.


This workshop is organized by the Brussels Capital Region, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

The conference is also supported by the European Research Network BIOARCH and Association of Environmental Archaeology.

Registration and abstract submission

Registration and abstract submission form

Registration Fees:

early bird registration, before March 15, 2015: regular participant € 120 / students: € 100

normal registration after March 15, 2015: regular participant and student: € 180 -

Registration includes the conference itself (book of abstracts, lunches, welcome reception and refreshments).

October 20, 2014: opening of registration and abstract submission
November 18, 2014: closing of abstract submission
One-page abstracts (300 words) for oral and poster presentations related to the theme of the workshop will be accepted by the organizing committee prior to November 28, 2014. Guidelines for the submission of abstracts will accompany a second circular, which will be distributed in October 2014. All abstracts accepted for this conference will be published in a book of abstracts that will be available to participants at the beginning of the workshop.

Scientific committee in alphabetical order

* Laurent Bavay, CReA-Patrimoine, ULB, Belgium
* Ann Degraeve, Brussels Capital Region, Belgium
* Chloé Deligne, ULB, Belgium
* Anton Ervynck, Agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed, Belgium
* Roger Langohr, Universiteit Gent, Belgium
* Richard Macphail, UC London, UK
* Daniel Makowiecki, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland
* Elena Marinova, KU Leuven & RBINS, Belgium
* Arturo Morales Muñiz, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
* Philippe Rentzel, IPNA - Basel, Switzerland
* Marie-Pierre Ruas, CNRS, Paris, France
* Wim Van Neer, KU Leuven & RBINS, Belgium

Information and inscription:

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