The View from the Benches? Museum Collections and Medieval Archaeology, a workshop led by Eurydice Georganteli (Harvard University). Space for this workshop is limited; registration information can be found here. This event is part of the 2019 Harvard Medieval Material Culture Series The View from the Trenches: Archaeology and Medieval Studies Today, sponsored by the Committee on Medieval Studies, the Harvard Art Museums, the Department of History of Art + Architecture, and the Committee on Archaeology.
The workshop will explore the role of museum artifacts in the study of medieval material culture. Can works of art that haven been taken out of their archaeological context, and often collected and displayed on the basis of their aesthetic value, provide visitors and researchers the plausibility of an archaeological narrative? What is the significance of objects for the reconstruction of medieval technologies and designs, settlements and routes, economic practices and cultural encounters? Through a close-up study of select artifacts from the renowned medieval collections of the Harvard Art Museums, the workshop will offer participants the chance to reflect on the value and limitations of museum collections and archaeological finds as primary sources for the Middle Ages.