Conference: Eigth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-8)

28 August -2 September 2016
Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan

Organisers: WAC

The Call for sessions will be made in September 2015, and papers in October 2015.
Deadline for the proposal of sessions: End of December 2015.
Deadline for the proposal of papers: End of February 2016.
If you need more information about session and papers, please access session@wac8.org.

The conference website has been finished and is available here.

Themes will include:

The Archaeology of Disaster: Exploring the Past for the Future
The history of humankind cannot be discussed without including our response to disasters. Natural hazards and human – caused disasters have altered peoples’ lives, their settlements, and surrounding landscapes in the past and present. Archaeology has identified these disasters along with their contexts, and explored the interactions between humans and nature, and the long-term implications of human activities. More importantly, the investigation of past disasters, particularly earthquakes and tsunami, can be utilized to improve modern disaster management.

Another integral matter relating to disasters is heritage, be it cultural or natural. Heritage around the world is exposed to numerous risks resulting from disasters, both natural and those with a human agent. In the past few years the world has witnessed the intentional destruction of heritage due to war, and even more tragically, Japan lost whole communities and their associated histories and heritage in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami in Tohoku. Every loss makes us appreciate again the meaning of heritage, which includes intangibles, as well as community and culture. Contemporary disasters require from archaeologists unprecedented recoverymanagement methods, technologies, and collaboration. During catastrophes, archaeologists and heritage managers are suddenly faced by a concurrence of serious issues that create both challenges to their field and opportunities for further development of it.

At WAC-8 sessions under this theme we will tackle ‘disasters’ from different angles. Session participants will assemble and share wisdom for our future.

War and Conflict
The WAC community has dealt with the theme of the destruction of cultural heritage during armed conflict at least for the past two congresses (Dublin and the Dead Sea) as well as three inter-congresses (Ramallah, Vienna and Rome). In the meantime , it has become a permanent topic of academic discourse. As a result of this intensive and sometimes controversial process, WAC has recently adopted a new accord: “The WAC Accord on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict” or, for short “The  Dead Sea Accord”. This is a milestone. But what next?

At the base of the Dead Sea Accord is the belief that culture, including
knowledge, history, traditions, language, adaptations, technology, art, literature, architecture and material culture – in short, both portable and non portable, both tangible and intangible – is a basic human right. WAC’s focus on the protection of material culture as a subcategory of culture makes it clear that human life is always a priority.  But this does not discount the significance of material culture – rather it makes the connection between humans and all aspects of their culture very clear. Meanwhile, the destruction of cultural heritage in armed conflict has turned to a renaissance of iconoclasm beyond all legal and ethical norms. Prominent representatives of civil society publicly label this destruction as a war crime or crime against humanity. And the current events worldwide demonstrate the interdependence between ethnic and cultural cleansing.

As a community, we, our discussions, our papers and our accords are at the cutting edge of contemporary controversy and ethics. At upcoming WAC-8 we will again strive for engaging a broad range of questions, including philosophical, ethical, juridical, humanitarian, social, sociological, psychological, humanistic, historical, religious, cultural, economic, political, and military aspects in order to face the new reality, dimension and nature of cultural heritage destruction and to define our role and tasks as a scientific community in helping to protect what we try to explore.

The first theme for this session has been confirmed: The reflection and effects of Arab spring on archaeological and cultural heritage sites of Arab world