Activity: Organising and attending an event › Organising and contributing to an event › Academic
Multi-proxy approaches to kinship in the Greco-Roman world The study of kinship in past societies is an imperative, but difficult task. On the one hand, kinship is a key aspect of human life, as it defines people’s sense of identities, their social ties and their access to rights and resources. On the other, conceptualizing and defining kinship is challenging because of its complex and fluid character and the variable forms it takes in different societies. Further problems arise when trying to assess the significance of kinship in the archaeological record: Which data should we use, which biocultural aspects should we include, and how should we analyze them? A broad range of methods - such as human osteoarchaeology, ancient DNA or biodistance analysis, contextual analysis of mortuary practices and household archaeology- has been employed. More questions arise if we study historical societies: Which other sources should we try to include? How should we use historical, iconographic, epigraphic or papyrological evidence? What is the potential and the limitations of these different datasets, and how should we integrate them? In this session, we would like to apply these questions to the Greco-Roman world which offers a wealth of archaeological and textual evidence. The ancient world is characterized by a certain degree of political or cultural unity across current national and continental boundaries, but also by marked diversity. In addition, recent attention to silenced groups - such as women, children, the elderly or enslaved people – shifts the traditional focus on male citizens or the elites, and thereby enable a more holistic discussion of kinship. We are looking for contributions which either emphasize recent methodological and/or theoretical advances in the study of past kinship, or address the problems arising when integrating archaeological and historical datasets.