The Archaeology of War

The conning tower of submarine AE2 in 2014 as left open by Commander Stoker when he scuttled the vessel on 30 April 1915. Project Silent Anzac.

The Archaeology of War is a two day conference exploring the importance of archaeology in the investigation of past conflicts, how this has been affected by technological advances and what role archaeology might play in public remembrance.

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  • 2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, and the end of a four-year round of commemorative and other historical events associated with 1914–1918. While centenary moments have sparked the funding of commemorative monuments, exhibitions and other events, there has been comparatively little public engagement with the archaeology of sites associated with war.  

    June 2018 Archaeology Conference at the Australian National Maritime Museum 

    In June 2018 the Australian National Maritime Museum will host a conference that aims to investigate the relationships between public remembrance and archaeology. The conference will look at the role of archaeology in a variety of conflict-related themes, including the repatriation of human remains and bringing closure to those affected by war. It will explore archaeology’s commemorative function, its role and importance in the investigation of past conflicts as well as the use of new (and future) technologies. The conference will also raise questions about how archaeology might reveal the effects of past warfare on society and what role it might play in understanding loss and grief, and shaping ways of remembrance. 

    The conference will highlight new questions posed by recent advances in technology and will look closely at archaeology and the First World War. While Australian archaeology will be a focus, The Archaeology of War is not limited by scope, scale, place or time and encourages international perspectives and examples as well as cross-cultural comparisons and connections with other disciplines. 

    The Archaeology of War: Three Main Themes

    Three general themes are proposed: 

    • Management and preservation: Common issues in protecting war sites and graves
    • Interpretation: Archaeology, remembrance and the digital age, and cross-disciplinary approaches
    • Discovery: New finds, new searches, new methods

    The conference will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney.

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    Further details about additional associated activities will be provided in early 2018. 

    For further information please contact archaeologyofwar@anmm.gov.au