Byzantium in Transition at the University of Cyprus

This is a pretty interesting conference being held this weekend at the University of Cyprus.  Apparently, it will be the first in a trilogy of conferences designed “to shed more light on the ‘invisible’ eras or period of major transformations in economy, society, and culture after the end of Late Antiquity by (re)evaluating old and new archaeological data, namely dated to (a) the Byzantine Early Middle Ages, middle 7th-8th centuries, (b) the Middle to Late Byzantine or Early Frankish era, Late 12th – early 13th centuries, and (c) the Late Byzantine/Frankish to Early Ottoman period, middle 14th – late 15th centuries.”

The schedule of speakers looks pretty impressive (although a bit light on people doing active field research in Cyprus) with most of the usual suspects represented (include two representatives to of the Corinthian School of Late Antique and Byzantine Studies: Guy Sanders and Tim Gregory).

The poster is snazzy.

Workshop Poster

It’s always useful to notice the way in which these kinds of conferences organize sessions because they both capture the areas of specialty among the participants and the questions central to research in the field. Sessions on urban and rural space suggest, at least, that tradition ways of viewing ancient settlement with the conceptual divide between town and country continues to persist (although it is possible that the papers could critique the title of the session). The next session on “trade networks and the economy” suggests more fluid and integrated view of economic relationships that might offer a counterpoint to the seeming rigid city/countryside divide. The final session bring the term “material culture” to the conference and opens up the potential to consider how objects both embody and communicate cultural expectations.  It remains to be seen how fully the participant embrace the complex concept of material culture or just use it as a synonym for architecture and small-finds.

The program is as follows:

Byzantium in Transition

Introductory Session: Setting the Scene

Islam and its relations with ByzantiumAlexander Beihammer (University of Cyprus)

Latin Christendom and its relations with Byzantium, c. 700-900 AD
Richard Hodges (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology, USA)
keynote speaker (hospitality sponsored by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation)

Approaches to Early Medieval Byzantium
John Haldon (Princeton University, USA)

Session I: Urban and Rural Space

Urban and rural space: surface survey and its problematics
John Bintliff (University of Leiden, The Netherlands)

City and countryside in Greece
Guy Sanders (American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece)

Island and coastal landscapes in Greece and Cyprus
Timothy Gregory (Ohio State University, USA)

City and countryside in Asia Minor: Amorium as model or misfit?
Christopher Lightfoot (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA)

City and countryside in the western fringes
Paul Arthur (University of Salento, Italy)

Session II: Trade Networks and Economy

A ceramic koine as evidence for continuity and economy
Athanasios Vionis (University of Cyprus)

Amphorae and trade networks
Stella Demesticha (University of Cyprus)

Pottery in seventh-century Cyprus: ceramic economies in a Sea of change
Marcus Rautman (University of Missouri, USA)

Towards a new definition of Mission Creep: trade with the western peripheries
Pamela Armstrong (University of Oxford, Wolfson College, UK)

Coins, exchanges and the transformation of the Byzantine economy (7th-10th c.)
Cecile Morrisson (CNRS, France)

Session III: Artistic Testimonies and Material Culture

The culture of Iconoclasm
Leslie Brubaker (University of Birmingham, UK)

Church planning and sculpture in Late Antique Cyprus: their connections with the regional environment
Jean-Pierre Sodini (Universite de Paris- I, Sorbonne, France)

Early Christian basilicas: changes or continuities in post-Justinianic Cyprus?
Doria Nicolaou (Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana, Italy)

The art of metalwork in Byzantium
Marlia Mango (University of Oxford, St John’s College, UK)

Early Medieval archaeological evidence from central Greece
Olga Karagiorgou (Academy of Athens, Greece)


Cross-posted to the New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World.

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