CFP: 2015 EAA Session: What’s in a story? Is oral history a valuable tool for the future archaeologist’s toolkit?

The call for papers and posters for the 21st EAA annual meeting in Glasgow (2-5 September) is now open and the deadline is 16 February 2015. Paper proposals are submitted electronically on

If you are interested in submitting a paper for the session What’s in a story? Is oral history a valuable tool for the future archaeologist’s toolkit?

we remind you that it is under the Theme: ‘Legacies and Visions’

Session organisers: Monique van den Dries, Margarita Díaz-Andreu

Session abstract:  – When considering legacies in archaeology that we believe to be worth passing on to succeeding generations of archaeologists, should we consider including the relatively new and not yet fully explored method of oral history? Does it have the potential to add value to future archaeological research and is it worth exploring and developing further, or is it mainly a trendy novelty?

Oral history is gaining in popularity as a method of archaeological and heritage research. Case studies show its multiple uses; for instance as a means of gathering eyewitness accounts of historical events, locating sites, learning about old skills and crafts and places of importance in the landscape, contributing to landscape biographies, etc. It can be a means of capturing the world behind the archaeologically visible and may simultaneously add to the social value of a heritage preservation project, as it gives a voice to community members who usually go unheard.

It is the aim of this session to explore the potential of oral history approaches that focus on the first-hand memories or knowledge of an interviewee, primarily in a European context. We will look at the experiences of archaeologists who have used oral history as a tool and consider what benefits and value they have identified, both for the archaeological research or heritage project and for the interviewee themselves. Session participants are also invited to reflect on the pitfalls and challenges researchers face by using oral history and the ethical and practical implications that need to be considered if it is to become a fully fledged archaeological tool.

any queries, please contact us on


best wishes,

Monique van den Dries and Margarita Díaz-Andreu

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