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 » Internationaler Kongress Innsbruck 2017

 » Iato Kongress Zürich 2013 

» Monte Iato - Workshop Innsbruck 2013

» Internationaler Kongress Innsbruck 2012


DAI Clustertreffen: Connected Cultures? Konzepte, Phänomene, Praktiken kultureller Interaktion




2. Monte Iato Workshop Innsbruck, 23. und 24.03.2023



The ‘Rural City’: Modes of Localisation of Urbanity in the Borderlands - Workshop Innsbruck 2021 



Neutron activation analysis (NAA) and its
relevance to the Archaeology of the ancient
Mediterranean, BBB-Workshop 2021



Monte Iato Workshop 2018

Zwischen Aphrodite-Tempel und spätarchaischem Haus III. Bioarchäologische Untersuchungen, Universität Innsbruck, 23. März 2018


Internationaler Kongress Innsbruck 2017

The Production of Locality and Empowerment in the Archaic Western Wediterranean. International Conference, Unisversity of Innsbruck 8th - 11th May 2017


In his seminal work Modernity at Large, Arjun Appadurai shows how ‘local’ is shaped by neither landscape nor culture, and is not a given that has come down from ancient times. He argues on the contrary that the local is constantly re-designed and reconstituted by complex cultural practices as local entities construct shared identities and a sense of ‘neighborhood ’. Location and neighborhood are always time- and context-bound. Instead of static entities, they are fluid ‘-scapes’ that are attuned to the dialectic between local group formation and (proto)global networking. The production of locality is consequently always a particular challenge when the neighborhood as an existing social structure is about to erode or even threatens to implode as a result of ‘global’ pressure. From this perspective, the production of locality is a key resource of local co-existence, because it makes potential processes of global networking and cultural transformation socially acceptable and embeds them into local microstructures.

 A key device that is often used in the production of locality, are so-called “archaika”. These are ruins and antiques, which may be centuries-old at the time of use. Archaika could also be objects that were specially designed to look old, for instance during the performance of foundation rituals. By means of such archaika, which are usually seen as derived from or associated with the world of ancestors and forefathers, the imagined locality and neighborhood acquire an ostensibly ‘archaeological' authenticity and presumed prehistoric depth. Through the materiality of the real or presumed age of archaika foundational discourses on empowerment, provoked by foreign cultural or even colonial contacts, can be projected back onto a distant past and be reshaped into archaioi logoi, seemingly old language and rites. It is precisely at these moments that locality and neighborhood are perceived as ancient and thus as a particularly powerful resource to forge a shared identity among locals.

These reflections on locality, neighborhood and archaika are based on Appadurai's bookModernity at Large (1996) and draw on other recent work in material culture studies. They provide the starting point for the present conference to facilitate a focused debate on "the production of locality and empowerment" in the Archaic Mediterranean (8th-5th centuries BC). This focus on local and intra-group dialectics between locality and connectivity also offers an opportunity to "re-think colonial pasts through archaeology". This issue arises especially in the multi-ethnic contact zones of the western Mediterranean area, in which Greeks, Phoenicians and Etruscans played their part alongside indigenous inhabitants to mediate cultural interactions.

The primary aim of the conference is to focus on these interregional issues from a local perspective. To this end, we limit discussion to those archaeological sites, where the archaeological evidence seems sufficient to suggest answers to the question of the production of locality. Even more specific is the question, to what extent the archaeological record can give us an insight into the exploitation of foreign cultural traditions - or even the colonial situation - in association with local power relations? What cultural practices and rituals can be identified in the material record that were used to reconstruct a prehistory and ancient history in terms of Appadurai's production of locality to make local power and colonial influence socially acceptable?

Local answers to these interregional issues, based on results from specific archaeological sites will eventually allow for a multi-sited archaeology that may systematically pursue the "Empowerment in the Archaic Western Mediterranean" on a comparative level. With these case studies we hope to explore basic mechanisms that may have been at work in the production of locality in the interplay between proto-global networking, empowerment and the formation of local ethnicity. Further questions to be considered regard whether such mechanisms may also be observed at different places and with other protagonists? Were there structural similarities between indigenous inhabitants, Greeks, Phoenicians and Etruscans that depended on or related to specific types of contact zones? To what extent did the symmetry or indeed asymmetry between contact partners, the social constitution of local groups and the intensity of contact play a more important role than the ethnicity of the individual actors?

Answers to all these questions will be explored and debated in the individual contributions and eventually be brought together into a final synthetic discussion that will conclude the publication of the congress. We hope that they will contribute towards a new and more nuanced as well as more complex understanding of the West Mediterranean in the Archaic period as a pre-global interaction zone.

Iato Kongress Zürich 2013

Monte Iato and the World of Archaic Western Sicily: New Evidences and Perspectives. Archäologisches Institut der Universität Zürich, 25. Oktober 2013 und 26. Oktober 2013



Monte Iato - Workshop Innsbruck 2013

Universität Innsbruck; Zwischen Aphrodite-Tempel und spätarchaischem Haus. Erste Ergebnisse der Untersuchungen am Monte Iato in Westsizilien. Institut für Archäologien, Universität Innsbruck, 22. Mai 2013



Internationaler Kongress 2012






The archaic Mediterranean world – a world of pre‐global interaction?

The archaic Mediterranean world was lastingly impacted by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Etruscans. The terra cognita of the time was widely explored by aristocratic entrepreneurs and settlers, though also by physicians, philosophers, merchants and craftsmen. Their migration was accompanied by the spreading of their talents, goods and merchandise, and of course also knowledge, religious systems, technologies and fashions.

The general aim of this conference will be to trace these pre‐global complexities of circums­tances, people and their activities along coastlines and within the indigenous western Mediter­ranean hinterland areas. In doing so, we mainly intend to adopt two different approaches:

Firstly, we want to trace “things in motion”, i.e. the trans‐Mediterranean flow of goods and merchandise which combined the hinterland and the coastlines of the ancient Mediterra­nean world into a world of shared transactions.

Secondly, we want to enquire where, how and for what purpose local communities linked in with this pre‐global flow, resulting in the redistribution of such “things in motion”.


“Things in Motion” and “Western Mediterraneanization”

The routes of the trans‐Mediterranean elite network were marked by the movement of mer­chandise and prestigious goods and also of fashions and technologies. This is still reflected in finds throughout the Mediterranean – Greek ceramics, Etruscan drinking party accessories made of bronze, so‐called objets gaulois and also earthenware fragments and vessels with etched let­ters in derivatives of the Greek alphabet.

Interestingly, any finds relating to these “things in motion” become more scarce the further we move eastwards. This is why – as an experiment – the conference will focus closely on the western Mediterranean and, in particular, the geographic quadrangle comprising central Italy, Languedoc / Catalonia, Tunisia and Western Sicily. Was there perhaps the emergence of an elite koiné in this western Mediterranean quadrangle in the 6th and early 5th century BC? And did it really have an Etruscanising face, as suggested by the currently available finds? To what extent might this cultural dominance of the Etruscans have served the purpose of cultural differentiati­on from the eastern Mediterranean?


Coastal and Inland Sanctuaries as emporia ‐Centres of a Western Mediterranean Network of elites?

In this shared world of western Mediterranean transactions the sacred zones of sanctuaries and places of worship functioned as central hubs. Under the “protection of the altar” it was possible to defuse any potential conflict that was continually latent whenever there was an encounter between ethnic groups. Approaching the issue from the opposite angle, this takes us to the second major question at the conference: Could an elite network ever have developed in the multi‐ethnic and highly fragmented habitats of the archaic western Mediterranean if it had not been for such sanctified zones of encounter and of mutual acceptance between members of the different elites?

Interregional sanctuaries of this kind were referred to as emporía by Herodotus (2,179 and 4,152), a concept which was developed by Karl Polanyi into the model of a port of trade in his substantivist economic anthropology. Important coastal and sea‐focused sanctuaries are fre­quently referred to as emporía and ports of trade in academic research – for instance Graviscae, Pyrgi and Empuries.

As an experiment, the conference will widen the concept of those emporía to include the in­land sanctuaries that could be found at watersheds and which thus often provided a link be­tween river valleys and the coast. They will be examined as strategic hubs for traffic and com­munication between the indigenous hinterland and the colonial coastlands. To what extent does this change of perspective lead to a view whereby such inland sanctuaries no longer appear as borderline sanctuaries or as zones of a supposed clash of civilisations? Instead, can they actually be seen as similar to the coastal emporía? And, likewise, did they perhaps function just as much as centres of inter‐elite encounters and as places where intercultural skills were negotiated, thus forming the very basis for any connection with the western Mediterranean elite network?


Sanctuaries and the formation of elites: power of consumption – consumption of power

The main focus of research into sanctuaries as scenes for the formation of elites will be on the power of consumption and on the consumption of power. Consumption was generally subject to the local “registers of consumption”, provided by locally dominating social structures and power relations.

By focusing on the registers of consumption, the centre of interest in the research will be on the “settings” and “resettings” of privileges, i.e. goods and technologies of foreign cultures, which served to form and sustain local power claims. The ethnic provenance of the various pro­tagonists no longer played a primary role. Rather, the main focus was on the forms of consump­tion in which they engaged. To what extent were each of these “registers of consumptions” em­bedded into local forms of commensal politics which then provided the basis for “incorporating” the social order? Also, what was the role of intercultural fashions and practices through which local elites culturally distanced themselves from their own people while at the same time devel­oping an affinity to other members of the (western) Mediterranean elite koiné, both mentally and socially?


Three sessions in 4 days

These three thematic areas will be explored in three sessions which will build logically on one another:

1: “Things in Motion” and “Western Mediterraneanization”

2: Coastal and Inland Sanctuaries as Centres of a Western Mediterranean Elite Network

3: Sanctuaries and the Formation of Elites: Power of Consumption – Consumption of Pow­er


Languages: English, German, Italian



Prof. Dr. Erich Kistler

MMag.a Birgit Öhlinger

Institut für Archäologien
Fachbereich Klassische und Provinzialrömische Archäologie
ATRIUM – Zentrum für Alte Kulturen
Langer Weg 11
A-6020 Innsbruck
Seminarraum 1 


We thank our generous sponsors:

Land Tirol
Italienzentrum der Universität Innsbruck
Vizerektorat für Forschung der Universität Innsbruck
Dekanat der Philosophisch-Historischen Fakultät der Universität Innsbruck
Büro für Internationale Beziehungen der Universität Innsbruck
Land Voralberg
ÖFG – Österreichische Forschungsgemeinschaft
Stiftung Fürstl. Kommerzienrat Guido Feger
CEnT – Cultural Encounters and Contacts
SENSYS Sensorik & Systemtechnologie GmbH
Stadt Innsbruck
Tourismusverband Innsbruck
Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag


More detailed information about Sensys:

Institut für Archäologien
Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck
ATRIUM - Zentrum für Alte Kulturen - Langer Weg 11
A-6020 Innsbruck / Österreich

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