Call for Papers: “City and Micro-region in the Ancient Mediterranean (and Beyond)”

Conference Series
“City and Micro-region in the Ancient Mediterranean (and Beyond)”
Madrid & Istanbul 2025

Call for Papers
(until 30th June 2024)

For the understanding of the ancient Mediterranean world, “city” and “micro-region” are central categories. While most archaeological and historical research has thus far focused on cities and their territories or on “micro-ecologies” without paying attention to the specific potential of the cities, the concept of the micro-region opens up a broader approach. Cities can be studied as elements of complex socio-ecological systems of micro-regions, where urban and rural spaces and practices are interrelated agents without an intrinsic hierarchy between city and countryside.

The inclusion of ancient cities in the socio-ecological analysis of micro-regions opens up various interfaces with modern discourses on the future of the city, including the supply of cities, their function as infrastructural hubs, locally based production and consumption, the resilience of cities to environmental change and last but not least, cities as social configurations and their role in the emergence of identities of various kinds. Mediterranean cities that currently face challenges such as the climatic crisis, regional conflicts or natural disasters provide a case in point on pressing global problems. Hence, the question arises as to whether a better understanding of past city & micro-region configurations in the Mediterranean might contribute to developing solutions for the future.

In order to achieve such a contribution, the conference series has four main objectives:

  • Understanding cities and micro-regions as entities of human-environment interaction within
    complex socio-ecological systems.
  • Identifying temporal scales and dynamics in the transformation of city & micro-region
  • Understanding city & micro-region configurations as agents of integration or separation within the
  • Contributing to current societal debates by comparing city & micro-region configurations on a
    diachronic and global level.

These objectives are to be realised in two stages that are represented by the conferences in
Madrid and Istanbul, respectively:

The first conference at the German Archaeological Institute in Madrid, from 21st to 23rd May
2025, focuses on “City & Micro-Region Configurations” within the ancient Mediterranean
world and its neighbouring regions. In this framework, the following themes will be of primary

  • City & micro-region configurations as complex socio-ecological systems.
  • Temporal scales and dynamics in the transformation of city & micro-region configurations.
  • City & micro-region configurations: Representation, Perception and Planning.

The second conference at the German Archaeological Institute in Istanbul from 30th October
to 1st November 2025 goes beyond the city & micro-region configuration. It focuses on
Connection, Integration, and the Global Perspectives”. In this event, the following themes
are of particular interest:

  • Cities & micro-regions as agents of connectivity.
  • The agency of the sea: Dynamics of maritime integration and separation.
  • Beyond the ancient Mediterranean: City & micro-region configurations on a global and diachronic

The reason of hosting the conferences in two different locations is to recognise the diversity of urban life in the Western and Eastern Mediterranean and to include the individual physiognomies of Madrid and Istanbul in the discussion. Both events are connected by the active participation of a board of international specialists in the field, who will jointly work on a synthesis of the conference series. Members of the board include Manuel Fernández-Götz (Edinburgh), Elif Koparal (Istanbul), Naoíse MacSweeney (Wien), Jeroen Poblome (Leuven), Rubina Raja (Aarhus), Miguel J. Versluys (Leiden) and Martin Zimmermann (München).

The conference series is organised by the Istanbul and the Madrid departments and the TransAreaNetwork “Mediterranean Archaeology” of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI). We aim to provide support for the costs of travel and accommodation in accordance with the financial resources available.

Papers related to one or several of the themes set for the conferences at Madrid and Istanbul, ranging from the Iron Age to the Late Antiquity / Early Medieval periods, are welcomed. For the theme “Beyond the ancient Mediterranean” (Istanbul), proposals with a broader geographical and/or temporal scope will be received with great interest.

Please submit proposals with the title of your paper, a short abstract, and an affiliation to one of the themes to city-micro[at] until 30th June 2024.

Felix Pirson (DAI Istanbul) & Paul Scheding (DAI Madrid)


Save the Call for Papers as PDF

About the author