The "Closed Context" in Context III

The “Closed Context in Context III” session at the EAA 2006 Annual Meeting is looking for an additional paper to complete their programme. See the email from Constanze Witt below.

Dear friends,

There is room for one more paper in this session! Please cross-post and forward …

Annual Meeting of the EAA in Cracow. Poland, 19-24 September 2006:

This is to be a follow-up session on the fruitful start made in St. Petersburg and Cork. Fresh perspectives are very welcome!

Session: The “Closed Context” in Context III

What is a “closed context,” a “closed find,” or a “closed deposit”? These are terms with which we work every day. The phrases have entered the vernacular and are used in a wide range of contexts. In archaeology, systems of relative and absolute chronology are based on confidently declared “closed” finds. The arts of stratigraphic analysis, art historical and stylistic analysis, historical and cultural interpretation, even the discoveries of entire peoples have been profoundly impacted by certain key “closed” finds. Yet there does not appear to be a clear terminological consensus on the identity of a “closed find” — is it the same as a “closed context”? a “geschlosssener Befund”? How exactly does one determine the precise degree of closedness of a context? What is the history of the use of the terms, and what theoretical underpinnings can we ascribe to them, then and now? what are the temporal and spatial aspects of a “closed” context? How do we go about the interpretation of a “closed” find — what are the special considerations? What of “heirlooms,” residual finds, multiple-use? What different types of contexts can be considered “closed,” and why? And how are these concepts best applied in designing a fieldwork project?

Papers exploring the theoretical ramifications of a closer analysis of the terms and their attendant phenomena are welcomed, as well as individual case studies illuminating salient characteristics of the concepts.

Abstract deadline is May 25. Please e-mail abstracts to cmwitt AT

I look forward to hearing from you!
Constanze Witt

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