The 13th ICAANE in Copenhagen
So this week, I was in Copenhagen, Denmark to participate in the 13th International Conference of the Archaeology of the Ancien Near East (ICAANE). I co-organised a workshop on decolonising the orientalist narrative in archaeological practice and it was one of the most interesting workshops I have been to.
What is the ICAANE?
So the ICAANE is a conference for archaeologists dealing with the past of West Asia. It is my fifth or sixth ICAANE I guess and I am always looking forward to it. The ICAANE usually features the newest excavation reports of our field and depending on the organisers some predefined topics that people can contribute to. It is usually a place where you meet a lot of people that you haven’t seen in a while.
Besides the usual programme, there is also the possibility to organise workshops. So yesterday, I was at a workshop about Cuneiform in the Age of Digital Archaeology. Workshops are kind of self-organised themed meetings where you can listen to a bunch of talks on a topic that interests you. Together with three colleagues, I also created a workshop for this years ICAANE.
How was the workshop?
So I have already written about our plans in the past. We wanted to create a digital conference and due to several reasons, we decided to cancel it. But we also decided to move it to the ICAANE and so we did. We had ten presentations and a whole day to talk about our topic. The presentations were truly amazing. We heard about the Bagdad railway, detective stories on the origins of finds, or how the Indus valley was neglected by certain European scholars.
Besides some technical difficulties at the beginning, the workshop was a full success and I learned a lot. We also had a final discussion with scholars from Europe, America, and West Asia and learned a lot about how to form networks in a better way and what the difficulties are. I got the strong feeling, that everyone in the room wanted the same thing, we weren’t so sure how to do this however. But starting to talk is the first step and it won’t certainly be the last.
How was Copenhagen?
Man, what can I say? I love the city. It is truly beautiful. I spend also a bit of time exploring and I really can see why so many people like Copenhagen. It is expensive though, but which major city isn’t anymore? I was taking a walk though the inner city, climbed a round tower, ate a famous Danish hot-dog and relaxed in one of the many city parks. Copenhagen, like Amsterdam last month, is really a nice city to explore.
I certainly will return home with a lot to think about. Not only the workshop and the people I met there, but also the city itself, to which I definitely want to return at some point. For now, a painfully long train ride awaits me to return home, as I decided not to fly. I’ll try to make the best of it and plan ahead how to proceed with the workshop in the future. I’d definitely like it, if it wasn’t the last.