anthraco2015 - 6th International Anthracology Meeting - Freiburg, Germany, 30th August to 6th September 2015

Scientific sessions

Since the last international anthracology meeting many new anthracological results have been provided by archaeologists, botanists, palaeoecologists, geologists, geographers, pedologists, historians, etc. ... from all over the world and in a broad range of scientific contexts, in varies scientific fields and involved scientific disciplines. So the congress program has been structured and subdivided into six sections dealing with several topics of current interest. The corresponding sessions will take place from Monday, 31st August to Friday, 4th September 2015 with oral and poster presentations. During these five days, a great diversity of anthracological and palaeobotanical topics will be offered at the congress sessions. Each session will be opened by a keynote.

Session 1: New methods and challenges

This session is intended for contributions tackling primarily questions of (new) methodology like isotope research, as well as taphonomy and dating. New challenges might concern anthracology in hitherto “untouched” regions of the planet were wood anatomical ground work is still in its beginnings. Other concerns may address field work (excavation, extraction, ...), representation of sampling quantities, determination of specific characters (e. g. wood anatomy), preservation of charcoal in different taphonomical contexts, the taphonomy of macro- and microcharcoals in lake sediments, stable isotope research, problems of dating charcoals in an archaeological context, etc.

Session 2: Geo- and Pedoanthracology

Charcoal is everywhere. Beyond the archaeological context, soils and sediments are ubiquitous archives storing information on fire frequency, species occurrence and stored carbon in the form of carbonised plant material. This session focuses on pre-quaternary charcoal in all kind of archives, as well as quaternary charcoal in soils, soil sediments (colluvisols), peats, lake and marine sediments (sedimentary anthracology). Soil charcoal analysis or pedoanthracology, allows the investigation of past occurrences of fire events and the identification of the correlated burnt woody vegetation, which is an important research field now, in the view of global climate change. The approach is based on the extraction of wood charcoal pieces from on-site-formed soils or soil sediments (e.g. colluvial soils), and their subsequent quantification (charcoal concentration per weight unit of sampled earth) and taxonomic identification, usually combined with radiocarbon dating. Pedoanthracology also contributes to the glacial refuge vs. early spread debate. Discussion will continue whether we keep talking of “pedoanthracology” for soil charcoal analysis which is usually done in a geoanthracological context. Regional contributions as well as syntheses or methodological issues are very welcome.

Session 3: Archaeo- and Ethnoanthracology

The first studies on archaeological charcoals date back to the 19th century. In the absence of wet preserved wood, analysis of wood charcoals from caves and settlements, camp fires and graves brings to light the human use of fuel and timber wood, thus addressing the wood economy. Beyond, environmental interpretations of archaeological charcoal assemblages are still controversially discussed in the light of the human filter effects. Contributions from any cultural period and any place of the world are welcome, as well as studies from experimental archaeology and ethnology.

Session 4: Charcoal production and Archaeometallurgy

Charcoal produced intentionally by humans is both resource and proxy. Research on former charcoal production becomes increasingly important. Kiln site anthracological work – the use of left-over charcoal from charcoal production sites to address questions of woodland composition reconstruction – dates back to the 1930s, while the last decade saw an augmented interest by archaeology, geography and landscape ecology. With modern techniques of airborne laser scanning, the historical importance in the wood economy becomes impressively clear, especially to produce charcoal for metal extraction and processing. Thus, contributions dealing with all aspects of charcoal production, as well as with the use of charcoal in metallurgy, are welcome. We especially encourage researchers dealing with social, economic or political aspects of charcoal production and metallurgy beyond or independent of charcoal analysis to join the session.

Session 5: Dendroanthracology

Dendroanthracology is the study of tree rings in charcoals. Besides dating charcoals if species and number of growth rings allows it, tree ring patterns reveal information on growing conditions of the charred wood, thus contributing to the interpretation of the size of the used wood (stems vs. branches vs. coppicing) and aspects of woodland management (e.g. coppicing, pollarding). Dendroanthracological information is on its way to become a standard asset in archaeoanthracological studies, however standardised methodologies (including subsampling, recording and analysis protocols) that are both applicable, economic as well as reliable and reproducible have yet to be established and agreed on.

Session 6: Multiproxy studies

This session addresses studies that seek to integrate anthracological datasets with other palaeoecological proxies in order to reconstruct past human impacts on the environment, ecosystem dynamics, and climate-people-landscape interactions. The integration of charcoal and pollen analysis is still not broadly enough practised, thus presentations bringing together these two sources of palaeoecological data are particularly welcome.

Preliminary session program

Final timing and duration of sessions and thus the definite time schedule of the individual presentations will depend on the number of contributions submitted for each session and will be adapted correspondingly after registration deadline.

  • Monday, 31st August: Welcome of the participants at the Faculty of Biology; Congress opening and welcome speeches; Sessions 1 (and 2); Welcome reception
  • Tuesday, 1st September: Sessions 2 (and 3)
  • Wednesday, 2nd September: Sessions 3 (or 4); Mid-congress excursion
  • Thursday, 3rd September: Sessions 4 (and/or 5); Conference dinner
  • Friday, 4th September: Sessions 6 (and 5); Closing of the presentation program
  • Saturday, 5th September: Post-congress excursion
  • Sunday, 6th September: Good-bye excursion
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