PhD Courses in Denmark

Urban resilience in the ancient world

Graduate School, Arts at Aarhus University

Urban resilience in the ancient world: methodological approaches and reconsiderations. Cases from the Late Antique and early Islamic Near East.


While resilience has been a hotly debated theme in archaeology, it has also become clear that archaeological evidence, due to its “momentary” or “mixed” nature often only offers a glimpse into long-term complex processes. It is seldom possible to disentangle long-term processes from one archaeological context. Such disentangling requires a multifaceted approach where evidence from different contexts are pulled together and evaluated both on their own terms but also in relation to each other. This PhD course therefore aims at addressing long-term resilience issues as reflected in on the one hand short-term responses as seen through for example the tackling of post-catastrophic events in urban contexts and on the other hand in long-term developmental processes as observed in the endurance of urban patterns. 

The lectures given at the course will focus on methodological approaches and problems when discussing resilience and the evidence connected to it in the archaeological record.

Four keynote lectures together with presentations by the phd students constitute the core of the course and will give participants the possibility of discussing methodological approaches both relating to their own research but also to broader theoretical and empirical discussions of resilience and archaeological research and evidence.


The course will offer research-led teaching on case studies. It will focus on two main objectives:

  • To explore the extent of resilience of cities in the ancient world, with specific focus on the Late Antique and early Islamic Near East
  • To explore and discuss traditional and innovative approaches to the study of urban resilience.


The aim is to encourage students from archaeology and related disciplines from the humanities to consider and discuss the potential of applying a wide range of approaches to their own research


Urban/hinterland dependencies, catastrophic events (i.e. earthquakes, diseases and wars), land management, alternative economies, resource optimization (recycling and reuse), population modeling.

Target group:

PhD students.




The course will offer four lectures (Module 1) and will be followed by presentations given by the registered participants (Module 2) on their own case studies.




Professor Rubina Raja (Centre for Urban Network Evolutions/Classical Studies, Aarhus University) –

Assistant Professor Emanuele Intagliata (Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, Aarhus University) –

Associate Professor Søren Munch Kristiansen (GeoScience/Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, Aarhus University) –

Professor Eivind Seland (University of Bergen, Norway) –

Case studies and requirements for admission

Each participant is required to register via and to submit the following documents by March 15th, 2021:

  • 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 precirculated among the participants of the course by April 9th, 2021. In addition, they be reviewed by the course organising team and discussed in Module 2.
  • A max 2-page CV;
  • A max 1-page cover-letter, motivating the reasons for participation.


Student presentations:

The participants will be required to present their case study in Module 2. The presentation will last approximately 10-15 mins (depending on the number of participants) and will be followed by a 10-15 mins Q&A session in which the students will receive feedback by the lecturers and their peers. 

Date and time:

15th April 2021, 9am – 16.15pm (potentially to be held online)


Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) Aarhus University Moesgård Allé 20, DK-8270 Højbjerg Denmark

Application deadline:

Please apply via this link  not later than 15 March 2021.


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