Frontiers & Archaeology – Past & Present – 13th Dec 2017

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This is a free day conference organised by University of Chester archaeology students, exploring the archaeology of  frontiers and their interpretation in the human past and their significance and challenges for community and public perception and engagement in the present.

The conference will take place on Wednesday 13th December 2017 at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester.


From IndyRef and Brexit to the Refugee Crisis and Trump’s Wall, frontiers dominate our news. Archaeological research can provide perspectives and insights into how frontiers are created, perpetuated, defined, fragmented, moved, removed and reinvented. Archaeological research shows us that frontiers needn’t divide ‘civilization’ from the ‘barbarian’, nor are they always simply lines on a map. Instead, frontiers can be zones and regions that might possess topographic, economic, social, political, religious and ideological dimensions. Moreover, frontiers can be arenas of interaction and creativity as much as barriers and blockades, in which new identities and perceptions of the environment can be fostered and reproduced.

From Hadrian’s Wall to Offa’s Dyke, from the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall, the conference explores the archaeology of frontiers past and present. Archaeology sheds light on how frontiers interact with natural features, including seas and straits, river and valleys, hills and mountains, forests and fens. Also, archaeological research reveals how frontiers are created and transformed in relation to routes and settlements, fields and farms, fortifications and watchtowers, beacons and bridges, linear earthworks and walls, sacred sites and burial grounds. Finally, the conference will tackle how archaeology can explore today’s frontiers afresh: both the material culture of present-day frontiers and how ancient frontiers are conserved, managed and interpreted in the present.