Course Exploring Reuse Practices in Premodern Economies


Course leader: Julia Steding

Language: English

Graduate school: Faculty of Arts

Course fee: 0.00 DKK

Status: Course is open for application

Semester: Fall 2022

Application deadline: 07/08/2022

Start date: 09/09/2022

Administrator: Henriette Jaquet


All students are put on a waiting list until we reach the application deadline.


Economic circularity is the ability of a society to reduce waste by recycling, reusing, and repairing raw material and finished products. The concept has received momentum in academia due to contemporary environmental concerns. Despite the recent surge of interest, economic circularity has not been fully addressed as a macrophenomenon by historical and archaeological studies, even though it appears on all levels of the economy. Buildings were renovated or used as quarries for new constructions, and artifacts of all kinds of materials were repaired and recycled on a regular basis. 
In this course we will explore different approaches and methodologies to study reuse practices and learn more about the implementation of circularity processes into the model of ancient economies. Key questions may include (but are not limited to): 
1.) What are these reuse processes and how do we define them?
2.) How can reuse processes in an economic system be studied in more detail and more comprehensively?
3.) What data and what approaches are needed to study circularity more comprehensively?
4.) How can archaeoscience and other methodologies contribute to our understanding of reuse practices in the past?
The course will be hosted at the Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet). Research at UrbNet and within the Circular Economy and Urban Sustainability in Antiquity Project (Aarhus University) is addressing these topics, trying to build a more complex understanding of ancient circularity as a driving force for the development of urban centres and networks.
Together with the guest lecturers and PhD students we will thus investigate the aspects of reuse and circularity in the archaeological record and in textual sources, to contribute to a more holistic picture of ancient economies. Although circularity is a global phenomenon, the main focus of this event will fall on urban societies from the Roman period to the Middle Ages in Europe.
Students are expected to provide a case study that they will present at the course. The exact format of this will be adjusted according to the number of participants. The PhD students will thus actively contribute to the course by presenting their own research. In so doing, the course aims to provide the participants with a forum to discuss their work with peers and specialists and to receive feedback. 


The aim is to encourage students from classical and medieval archaeology and history to consider and discuss the potential of applying a wide range of approaches to their own research.
The course will offer research-led teaching on case studies, methods and techniques for the study of reuse practices in premodern economies.

It will focus on two main objectives: 
• Understand and define circular proccesses and implement them in the economic models of past societies.
• Learn about methods and approaches that help our understanding of circular processes.

Target group:

Early and late stage PhD.


Lectures and presentations.


Dr Cristina Boschetti, UrbNet 
Dr Emanuele E. Intagliata, Università degli Studi di Milano
Prof Alexis Wilkin, Université Libre de Bruxelles 
Prof Allyson McDavid, The New School, Parsons School of Design, New York 
Dr Thomas Birch, Moesgaard Museum 
Dr Jonathan R. Wood, University College London 


Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, Aarhus University (Campus Moesgaard), building 4230

Additional information:

Once the participation to the course has been confirmed, each participant has to submit the following by 21st August.
·      A case study of 3-4 pages (including bibliography), which deals with the topic of the course. The cases can relate to an own project, previous experience, or a case inspired by academic literature. These will be pre-circulated among the guest speakers and PhD students before the course.

Student presentations
The participants will be required to present their case study. The presentation will last approximately 10 mins (depending on the number of participants) and will be followed by a  Q&A session in which the students will receive feedback by the lecturers and their peers.  

Course dates:

  • 09 September 2022 08:30 - 17:00