Friday, October 28, 2011

International Symposium on Archaeometry, Belgium, 28 May - 1 June, 2012

39th International Symposium on Archaeometry: “50 years of ISA”, Leuven, 2012"

Scope of the conference
The aim of the Symposium is to promote the development and use of scientific techniques in order to extract archaeological and historical information from the cultural heritage and the paleoenvironment. It involves all Natural Sciences and all types of objects and materials related with human activity.

On the town of Leuven
Leuven is very proud of both its past and its heritage. There is so much to see and to do in and around Leuven that one visit is simply not enough. From the 11th-12th century onwards, Leuven began to develop as an important trading centre. It is now a well-equipped, modern town with a thriving economy and with a good balance of old and new with a rich tradition. Amid all the leisure and student activities, it seems surprising that Leuven finds any time to work. When brewing became a nation-wide industry in the 19th century, Leuven became world famous for its beers, and today it is still proud to be known as the beer capital of Belgium, and possibly even the world.

On the University of Leuven
Situated at the heart of Western Europe, the K.U.Leuven has been a centre of learning for almost six centuries. Founded in 1425 by Pope Martin V, K.U.Leuven bears the honour of being the oldest Catholic university in the world still in existence and the oldest university in the Low Countries.

On archaeometry at the K.U. Leuven
In the recent past, at the K.U.Leuven, there have been many examples of co-operation between archaeological projects and different disciplines from the natural and applied sciences. In 2003 this co-operation was formalized in the Centre for Archaeological Sciences. It acts as a focal point for advanced interdisciplinary research made available to all archaeologists from Leuven, Belgium and the international community in general. The organization of the International Symposium on Archaeometry in 2012 is an extra incentive for the further development of archaeometrical research at the university and in Belgium.

On the symposium
The symposium will be organised in the (medieval) centre of Leuven, in one of the main auditoria with sufficient capacity and fully equipped with all necessary IT and audio-visual material. Also the necessary room for poster sessions and coffee breaks is nearby. The date of the symposium is 28 May to 1 June 2012. The official language of the symposium will be English.

The fee for the organisation of the symposium in Leuven is 280 Euro (students 125 Euro). This includes the conference fee and book of abstracts, a welcoming reception and a “50 years ISA” reception, all lunches and all coffee breaks.

Travel to Leuven
Leuven is situated at the very heart of Europe. The town of Leuven is situated at the junction of two major European motorways. Paris, London and Köln are only about two hours away by train. To come to Leuven by air, Brussels airport is situated about 20 km from Leuven and is easily accessible by public transport. Brussels South Charleroi Airport is located at 46 km from Brussels Centre. There are frequent international flights to almost any part of the world.

On the accommodation
Possibilities for hotel and other accommodation in Leuven (see also are plenty, ranging in price category from 20 Euro per night (youth hostel) to 180 Euro per night (5-star accommodation).

Liability and Insurance
The organizers of the ISA 2012 meeting do not accept any responsibility for personal injuries, material losses, or damages occurring during or in association with this symposium. It will be the responsibility of the participants to obtain adequate medical, travel or personal insurance for their participation in this event.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Heritage Threats

A recent editorial in Nature (477, 510, 29 September) outlines some of the threats to preservation and scientific study of our worldwide heritage. Rather than focusing on environmental or human effects physically altering heritage, this opinion piece focuses on the threats due to a lack of long term funding and lack of recognition. The authors point to the fact that the research is accomplished across disciplines without a home discipline. In addition, they suggest that the valuable research does not get the media attention and recognition that it deserves.

The article also refers to a recent European website (Heritage Portal) that is a portal to many aspects of heritage and science, brought together from most European countries into one location. It will be interesting to see how this develops and if there are other similar websites for other locations worldwide. If you know of one, please post to the blog!

However, is our discipline's multidisciplinary nature a strength or a weakness in terms of publicity and funding? Do we get enough recognition from our respective governments and funding bodies?