Projects have Life-Histories Too: the Opovo Archaeological Project and the Changing Narratives of its Creators. / Ruth Tringham (University of California, Berkeley).

May 31, 2023 from 06:00 PM to 08:00 PM

Klaus-Murmann-Hörsaal, Leibnizstraße 1, 24118 Kiel

My presentation comprises an exploration of Opovo Ugar-Bajbuk as a place constructed as a historically contingent coming-together of life-histories of people, animals, and things, in an unbroken flow of events and projects. This place has been the focus of lives, events and projects during the 5th millennium BC and in the 20th and 21st centuries CE, but it is not a continuous path. The challenge in archaeology is always how to make the narratives of Now and Then connect.  Some of my presentation will address this conundrum, but the life-history of the Opovo archaeological project provides its anchor. How was the archaeological project at Opovo conceived in 1983; how did the investigation of Neolithic burned houses become its key sub-project; what events and projects after its last field season in 1989 diverted its path from the traditional life-path of an archaeological project? Archaeological projects do not die, they have afterlives that are as important as the active life of the project. One such afterlife - almost a resurrection - is the archaeomagnetic research being carried out by the team from Kiel and Panchevo.  Part of this talk is to explore how and when in the Opovo archaeological project, the prehistoric narrative - the interpretation of the data - has been written, disseminated, and integrated into other smaller and larger place histories of Neolithic Southeast Europe.  The events of the project are created by people -  I am just one of them -  each of whom have a life-history of changing interests, skills, and imaginations, all of which contribute to the knowledge that is embedded in the life-history of the Opovo Archaeological Project and its afterlives.  Lest you think this talk will be overly particularistic, I believe that the details and complexities of the narratives told at this intimate scale will have as rich an affect as any microhistory of later time periods and far richer than a narrative constructed at a broader more evolutionary scale.


  • Ruth Tringham (University of California, Berkeley).

Fynn Wilkes

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