Constructing Ancient Cities

Constructing Ancient Cities

11. & 12. September 2023

Venue: Leibniz Centre for Archaeology (LEIZA - RGZM), Mainz Germany

Cities represent the end of a long process of development; they are constructed materially, socially and scientifically, regardless whether they have evolved organically or are planned as ex novo foundations. The construction of ancient cities can be linked to organisational, infrastructural, economic, social, political and cultural challenges from an emic perspective; from an etic perspective it poses, amongst others, questions in the area of history and theory of knowledge. Key questions are what it takes and what it means to build cities, and how cities and their construction are themselves constructed as objects of knowledge. These various challenges have been discussed intensively in recent years in numerous individual disciplines ranging from ancient studies, art history, sociology to the history of knowledge, but mostly only in individual aspects or disciplinary contexts. The conference will bring together these different approaches and examine the construction of ancient cities interdisciplinary from three different perspectives:

  1. How are ancient cities planned, designed, built and supplied? Which sources, methodological and theoretical approaches can be applied fruitfully? How has the perspective on these processes changed through the establishment of Digital Humanities and the inclusion of Big Data? How can ancient communities be better understood through the processes of construction and the accompanying social, economic and aesthetic decisions? For example, what role do construction techniques and materials play on the aesthetic perception of cities and their socio-cultural location?
  2. How were cities and their construction negotiated or discussed in literature, epigraphy and visual culture? What role do foundations, reconstructions, ruins or the mise-en-scène of the building and supply processes play in different media? Can political, economic, social, religious or material decisions and the debates leading up to them be identified?
  3. How have cities and their construction been and are modelled methodically, theoretically and as objects of knowledge? The construction of cities is not just a one-off, linear material process, but often involves iterative processes or non-linear transformations that take place in leaps. A number of different knowledge-historical and knowledge-theoretical practices can be taken into account here, which can range from classification systems and modelling to visualisations in diagrams, plans, 3D reconstructions, virtual reality, etc.


Scientific Organizers:

Dr. Paul Pasieka                                                       Dr. Mariachiara Franceschini


Event manager: Kumi Kost