RECONSTRUCTING PAST MONASTIC LIFE. Inferences from archaeological, bioanthropological and documentary perspectivesBarcelona, 25 and 26 January 2024
Topics and Themes
The conference will cover all aspects related to monastic life in the past aiming to promote the dissemination and exchange of knowledge among researchers interested in monasticism. The intention is to bring together specialists from different disciplines who will contribute new developments on this topic from different fields of study, such as zooarchaeology, bioanthropology, taphonomy, archaeobotany, archaeology, history, documentary disciplines, archives, art history, cultural heritage, etc.
New trends and findings in research about diet, health, economy, society, lifestyle, gender, architecture, monuments and landscapes in monastic contexts from the past will be particularly welcomed.
Topics and fields of study
- Registration and submission of papers will be possible from 1 June 2023 onwards.
- The deadline for submission of proposals for papers and posters is
15 September 2023extended to 29 September 2023.
- The deadline for registration is 30 November.
- Peer review of abstracts submitted will determine acceptance and the results of the review will be communicated by 15 October 2023.
- To register, please complete the online registration form.
Fees and Payment Methods
The registration fee may be paid through this link: register here
- Regular fee 100 Euro
- Student fee 60 Euro
The fee includes admission to the sessions, conference documentation, guided tour to Santa Maria de Pedralbes Monastery, coffee breaks and the two lunches.
- All speakers are requested to observe a 15-minute limit for their papers.
- All speakers and presenters of posters must be registered for the congress
Papers from the conference will be published in a special monograph of Medieval Monastic Studies of Brepols Publishers.
Medieval Monastic Studies is a series of monographs and collections of essays devoted to all aspects of the monastic history of Europe and the Latin East.
The members of the scientific committee are:
The conference is organised by researchers of the project MonBones. Members of the Organising Committee are:
Abstracts submitted for papers and posters must be no longer than 300 words. The congress languages are English, Spanish and Catalan, but all abstracts must be submitted in English.
A Word file with the abstract must be sent to the e-mail address: email@example.com
Abstracts should include:
- Dr Megan Brickley, Professor of Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, McMaster University (Canada). Canada Research Chair in Bioarchaeology of Human Disease. Specialist in health and nutrition in past populations through bone research as seen through the lens of bioarchaeology.
Lecture title: New approaches to old problems: rickets, scurvy and anemia
Metabolic diseases such as rickets, scurvy and anemia have been extensively investigated by those seeking to reconstruct aspects of life and death in past communities. Closely linked to a group of tightly interlinked interactions between socio-cultural, biological, and environmental factors, these conditions have considerable potential to inform our understanding of past communities. Although anemia has received the most attention, there still needs to be more consensus on diagnosing this condition. In particular, there has been extensive debate on possible links between anemia and porotic cranial lesions referred to as cribra orbitalia and porotic hyperostosis.
In this paper, I will review current approaches to diagnosing and interpreting all three conditions and consider how newly available frameworks for suggesting diagnostic certainty in the case of rickets and scurvy and the co-occurrence of these two diseases might advance our understanding of lifeways in past communities. Evidence for marrow hyperplasia is the gold standard for diagnosing anemia in bioanthropology and paleopathology. I will review reasons why recent debates have failed to resolve issues in diagnosing past cases of acquired anemia. This paper will finish by setting out new ideas on diagnosing anemia that centers on metric evaluation of structural changes of bone caused by marrow hyperplasia.
How bioarchaeologists and paleopathologists diagnose and interpret rickets, scurvy and anemia and co-occurrence of these conditions will be reviewed. Drawing on examples from my recent research, I will illustrate how the new frameworks and methodologies discussed offer considerable potential to better leverage information on sociocultural, biological, and environmental factors operating in past communities.
- Dr Karen Stöber, Professora Agregada, Departament de Didàctiques Específiques, Universitat de Lleida (Spain). Expert in the social history of medieval monasticism, and the relationship between the secular and the religious world in medieval period.
Lecture title: Vinum oleum cera spens et mel. What documents can reveal about the medieval monastic diet.
Food consumption in medieval religious houses was simultaneously tightly regulated and closely tied to the liturgical calendar, and subject to a whole set of symbolic and ritual acts. On the other hand, it seems clear that these ideals were not always adhered to. The surviving documentation can reveal a wealth of information about every aspect of monastic eating, from the purchase and cultivation of food items, via the preparation of meals on regular and feast days, to the excesses criticised by visiting authorities.
This paper will offer a look at some of the plentiful documentation relating to different aspects of food purchase, food consumption, rules relating to monastic eating, and the ways in which these were often stretched to the limit. It will seek to provide an insight into some of the ways in which medieval monastic communities went about the important and yet often complex issue of eating within the context of the expectations and limitations set by the requirements of their Orders on the one hand, and by the expectations of patrons and other visitors on the other. By doing so, it will also consider the necessities of the individuals who formed these communities, and the social and economic contexts within which they existed.
Thursday 25 January 2024
PLACE: Facultat de Geografia i Història, Room Jane Addams
8:30 – 9:30 Arrival and registration
9:30-10:00 Plenary opening session
10:00-11:00 Invited lecture: Dr Megan Brickley, Professor of Anthropology, McMaster University (Canada).
Title: Metabolic Diseases: Providing a lens on past lifeways
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
Sesion 1: 11:30-13:20 Podium presentations
Session 2: 15:00-16:40 Podium presentations
16:40-17:00 Coffee break
Session of Posters:17:00-18:00 Poster presentations
Friday 26 January 2024
PLACE: Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes
Session 3: 9:30 –10:50 Podium presentations
10:50-11:20 Coffee break
11:20 -12:20 Invited lecture: Dr Karen Stöber, Professora Agregada, Universitat de Lleida.
Title: Vinum oleum cera spens et mel. What documents can reveal about the medieval monastic diet
12:20-13:30 Guided tour of the Monastery of Pedralbes
Session 4: 15:00-16:15 Podium presentations
16:15- 16:45 Coffee break
Session 5: 16:45-18:00 Podium presentations
18:00-18:30 Plenary closing session
The congress will be held in Barcelona, at the Faculty of Geography and History of the University of Barcelona (25th January) and at the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes (26th January).
First day: 25th January
The Faculty of Geography and History offers a high-quality academic environment with all the technological requirements and an ideal location in the centre of Barcelona.
The first day sessions of the Conference (and the coffee breaks) will take place at the Room Jane Addams located in the fourth floor of the Faculty of Geography and History, which can be accessed by Carrer Montalegre 6 (see map below) by the Faculty entrance. The Faculty is located in the city centre and close to several metro stops. The nearest Metro stations to the venue are Plaça Catalunya (L1, L3) and Plaça Universitat (L1, L2).
Second day: 26th January
The Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes is a gothic monastery that offers unparalleled settings that match the theme of the event perfectly. The monastery was founded by Queen Elisenda de Montcada (the fourth and final wife of King James II of Aragon) in 1327. It was occupied from its foundation by the Poor Clare Order, the female branch of the Order of St. Francis. They resided there virtually uninterrupted until 1983, when the small community of Poor Clare nuns that still remained there was moved to a new convent adjoining the old monastery. It is now a museum, housing permanent exhibitions on its own art and legacy as well as third-party special exhibitions from time to time.
The second day sessions of the Conference (and the coffee breaks) will take place at the Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes which can be accessed by Carrer Baixada del monestir, 9 (see map below)
Access in public transport:
The location of the room will be indicated at the entrance of the monastery.
How to get to Barcelona
There are various options for getting to Barcelona by plane. The Josep Tarradelles Barcelona – El Prat International Airport connects the city with capitals around the world. The Aerobus is an express shuttle bus service between Barcelona Airport and Barcelona city center. There are Aerobuses to and from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The TMB Airport Bus Number 46 and Night Bus N17 and N16 are also available for transfers between the airport and the city center. TMB buses are cheaper but are also slower.
Barcelona has rail connections with the main cities in Spain and the whole of Europe, with direct trains to capitals such as Paris, Zurich and Milan. The high-speed rail service connects the city with France, Madrid and the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Barcelona Sants is the main railway station in Barcelona. The city center can be reached easily from Barcelona Sants using public transport. Tickets for local public transport can be purchased from the station. https://www.renfe.com/es/en
The city is connected to the French motorway network via the AP-7 and C-32 motorways and the N-II main road. From the south, the city can also be reached via the AP-7 and the C-32. https://www.autopistas.com/planifica-tu-viaje/mapa/
Some hotels situated in the city center and close to the 1st day venue:
If you choose accommodation in a youth hostel or university residences: