"Consolidating Empire" is funded by the European Research Council and based at Leiden University, The Netherlands


Practical approaches to reconstruct diachronic use changes of structures, settlements and landscapes.



Thursday 27th October 2016 10:00 – 14:00



Through time, the use of a building will invariably change. This complicates the straightforward characterization of these structures in archaeology. Often, a single characterization does not fully encapsulate the breadth of use and meanings a structure once had, and how this may have changed through time. In many cases the use changes of the built environment is caught in a periodization of the archaeological remains; in period 1 a building may have functioned as a bakery while in the next period it was used as a smithy. But what if many buildings within a settlement change use continuously, at varying moments in time? These complex diachronic patterns are more difficult to determine and to condense into a periodization.

When dealing with entire settlements or landscapes, these problems become even more pronounced. Not only is it often possible to chart many diachronic changes in use and meaning, archaeologists are often confronted with patchy, incomplete datasets with which to reconstruct these. Should we then still endeavour to write the history of a structure, settlement of landscape simply as a sequence of discrete phases, or can we reveal a more complex story? And how could this be achieved?

In this short symposium various speakers will present data and methodologies related to these issues. As the theme touches upon all levels of archaeological inquiry, from entire landscapes to individual structures, the selected papers are a reflection of this. We invite colleagues from all departments to join in the discussion!