Tuesday, March 19, 2019


for the 14th session of the study group “Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages” / AG Spätantike und Frühmittelalter

together with the Römisch-Germanische Kommission
and the Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M.

9-11 October 2019

at Frankfurt am Main


Value Concepts
Hoards in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
– Practices, Contexts, Meanings –

Although late Roman and early medieval hoards often consist of extraordinary objects, the actual phenomenon itself has not recently been the focus of extensive discussion. Most continental research has focussed on findings attributed to armed conflicts or ritual
deposition. Waste or scrap, for example, have only seldom been the centre of debate. A
review of literature on prehistoric hoards shows that up to now the potential of their early
historic counterparts may have been underestimated. Moreover, the dichotomy between
religious and profane interpretations of hoards should be questioned.
Besides shedding light on fundamental questions concerning e.g. the character of depositions in „Christian times“, a general analysis of hoards can provide insights into ritual practices, value concepts and socio-economic change in various early historical societies. The material, object types and chronology of single artefacts within a deposition are thereby just as important for the interpretation as are its context, composition, and distribution of similar assemblages.
As a result of new findings, current research projects, but also in light of more recent
theoretical and methodological approaches, the source material and prerequisites for
interpretation have significantly expanded in recent years; the upcoming conference / workshop now offers the opportunity to examine either or both aspects anew.
The conference aims to establish new perspectives on old and new findings, and to give a platform for current research on depositions from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. In the light of recent theoretical and methodological developments, we will explore the source potential and interpretations of „hoards“, and facilitate a transfer of ideas.
In this year’s meeting of the AG Spätantike und Frühmittelalter, to be held from 9th to 11th October 2019 in Frankfurt am Main on the subject of „Value Concepts. Hoards in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages – Practices, Contexts, Meanings“, new research will be presented considering the following aspects:

• The variability of interpretations ranging from treasure to scrap, intentional offering
to random loss, cache to storage, means of payment to recycling material, offerings
for the dead to stolen goods, public pomp to private hiding place, remnants of political
alliances to investments in the future.
• Transformations of materiality and material values.
• Human-object relationships and the relationality of space and time.
• The transfer of meaning(s) and questioning thereof.
• Religious and socio-cultural ideas and practices.
• Regional distribution of hoards and cycles of depositions: synchronous and diachronic
• Potentials of new theoretical and methodological approaches.

We would be pleased if you could enrich our session with contributions from your work. The duration of the presentation should not exceed 20 minutes. Abstracts with a half-page written summary (300–500 words) should be submitted to Roland.Prien@zaw.uni-heidelberg.de until 30.07.2019.

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