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Department of Archaeology

‘First Cities’ - An Exploration of Early Cities in Europe and Asia

The British conference of the AHRC-sponsored “Early urbanism in Europe?: the case of the Trypillia mega-sites, Ukraine” Project.

Durham University, Friday 15th - Sunday 17th April 2016

There has been a loss of nerve in studies of early urbanism, with an inability to define the term leading to an analytical paralysis which has stopped archaeologists from making a strong contribution to global narratives of cultural change. Can we change this state of affairs? How can we best transcend Gordon Childe’s criteria for urban sites which still, often implicitly, dominate the urbanism agenda? Will low-density urbanism, as proposed by Roland Fletcher, make a distinctive contribution? And what is the status of the very large, if rather undifferentiated, Trypillia mega-sites of Ukraine – the largest sites in 4th millennium BC Europe, if not the world?

This conference aims to bring together some of the key thinkers in recent urbanism studies to define a new agenda for urbanism and to assess the contribution of the Trypillia mega-sites to this emergent debate. The residential conference will take place in St. Chad’s College, in the City Centre and 2 minutes’ walk from the World Heritage site of Durham Cathedral.

If you wish to present a paper at this conference, please send the title of your proposal and a 100-word abstract to Dr. Bisserka Gaydarska (email: If you wish to attend the conference, whether you are a speaker or not, you will need to register by contacting Dr. Gaydarska (email:

A reduced fee will apply if you book before 31st December 2015.