TRAC Workshop – Ethical Challenges in Roman Archaeology

In recent years, the ethics of archaeology and archaeological practices have turned into a primary subject of debate and matter of concern (e.g. Cook 2019; González-Ruibal 2018; Richardson 2018), but this topic has not received as much discussion amongst Roman archaeologists. This workshop intends to facilitate and stimulate discussions as to how we can move forward as a discipline. In order to do so, it is necessary to define extant problems and biases. This must include an investigation of who generates these biases and the context in which these biases have been developed, such that we may address them not only as a problem of the individual, but as a problem of society, political setting, institutional paradigm, etc. In the pursuit of this, we have invited seven speakers to present on a range of topics (the full programme can be downloaded here) and encourage participants to engage in a discussion session considering the following questions/problems:

  1. Studying the Roman world. Does the study of the Roman world and its archaeology exist outside ethical considerations? If not, are we studying them in an ethical manner? How can we? Are some topics and methodologies more ethically problematic than others?
  2. Knowledge generation and validation. Who controls the narratives we construct about Roman archaeology? What ethical parameters exist for the construction of these narratives? How can we, for example, balance a desire for a more open discipline with the need to monitor appropriation of our discourses?
  3. Contemporary politics and Roman archaeology. What are the relationships between contemporary politics and Roman archaeology? What are our ethical responsibilities, for example, in working in conflict zones or countries under dictatorial regimes?
  4. Intersectionality and Roman archaeology. What role can Roman archaeologists play in addressing the field’s historical biases, e.g. decolonizing archaeology? To what extent are our research practices equitable and inclusive across a range of minority groups?

The workshop will take place online via Zoom, on Wednesday 29th June 2022, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm BST.

Please register your attendance via Eventbrite.


Cook, Katherine 2019 ‘EmboDIYing Disruption: Queer, Feminist and Inclusive Digital Archaeologies’ European Journal of Archaeology (online first)

González-Ruibal, Alfredo 2018 ‘Ethics of Archaeology’ Annual Review of Anthropology 47: 345-60.

Richardson, Lorna-Jane 2018 ‘Ethical Challenges in Digital Public Archaeology’ Journal of Computing Applications in Archaeology 1.1: 64-73.

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