In November, Charlotte and Sarah presented a poster at a special Metal Ages edition of the ‘Union Internationale des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques’ (UISPP) conference held in Edinburgh. The conference was named “Where are you going? Reconsidering Migrations in the Metal Ages”. A wide variety of mobility studies based on aDNA, Sr isotopes and material culture, or combinations of these techniques, proved to be an interesting setting for CRUMBEL’s mobility research.
The various presentations on the programme ignited fascinating debates. Especially the potential political misuse of mostly DNA but also other mobility studies in general to legitimise racism, were very important and showed the social relevance of archaeology on current-day debates on both racism and migrants.
Also, the dangers that come with introducing new analytical techniques were debated. It is very easy to forget to acquire good knowledge of archaeological theory (and history of archaeology) on the subject of migration, when acquiring exciting new data from novel techniques. The danger of repeating old rejected approaches and theories lurks dangerously around the corner. We have to take care not to “re-invent the wheel” and repeat old mistakes, by critically assessing our position and conclusions in the wider mobility debate that exists since the early history of archaeology.
Many thanks to the organisers Manuel Fernández-Götz (University of Edinburgh), Philipp Stockhammer (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), Courtney Nimura (University of Oxford) and Rachel Cartwright (University of Minnesota), for this very exciting conference!