Call for papers – the Archaeology of War

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. On 22-23 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.

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 is currently calling for papers. Suggested topics include:

  • Reclaiming the dead – excavations of WWI mass graves at Fromelles
  • Solving maritime mysteries, e.g; HMAS Sydney II, submarines AE2 and AE1
  • Beneath Gallipoli – maritime archaeology at Anzac Cove
  • Interpreting, protecting and managing World War II sites in the Pacific, including aircraft wrecks
  • Technology in conflict archaeology
  • International sites, e.g. Cook’s Endeavour and the American Revolution
  • War crimes, mass graves and archaeological evidence
  • Australian and other colonial conflicts and archaeology

The conference organisers welcome other suggestions for individual papers or expressions of interest in themed panels. Papers should be 3,000–5,000 words for 20-minute sessions.


A peer-reviewed compendium will be generated from conference papers.

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

For further information please contact