On August 15th 2019, our entire interdisciplinary research team arrived on the top of a mountain in Neuwied, Germany – specifically the scenic Schloss Monrepos. This castle is the home of the Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution. Here, for the next day and a half, we would share our project progress, debate various definitions of resilience, discuss new developing ideas, and generally have a good academic time.
The first morning began with a Who’s
Who – in case we had forgotten each
other’s faces – or, more likely, to introduce and welcome our newest members –
Nataliia Chub and Paul Pasieka, postdocs working with Kerstin P. Hofmann, Heide
Frielinghaus and Franziska Lang, respectively. We then had the privilege of
feasting like our distant ancestors – with a special Paleo buffet.
After lunch, we were energized and ready to focus. Stefan Schreiber, a postdoc, and Sophie Walter, a Ph.D. student, set the stage with in depth discussions of interdisciplinary perspectives of resilience literature in the present, and across time. This launched intense discussion between our archaeologists and psychologists as we tried to reconcile the perspectives of these two academic fields. Sophie has developed quite a clever methodology for overcoming research biases while studying resilience in the past. Keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming publication; it’ll be worth a read.
Then, came the speed-dating resilience project
presentation portion of our day. Nine diverse presentations largely about
methodology or transdisciplinary conceptualizations of resilience, presented in
only three minutes and with only one slide. It was an intense blast of
information, and admittedly was quite challenging to resist the urge to discuss
each one in detail and explore where the projects are heading. But, with all
good things, we must wait a bit longer as many are currently in their early
After a brief coffee break, our evening of
extended – 30 minute – project presentations began and, naturally, more
discussion and feedback. These projects required a bit more time, as they are
focusing on resilience in specific communities or in unique cases – such as
with the Etruscans in Early Imperial Italy or in regard to ancient burial
practices as coping methods.
in the Wood
At the conclusion of our first day, we put
our newly found knowledge about resilience to the test by gearing up and
heading into the mountain wilderness for some fresh air. Thankfully, we all
made our way successfully to the Gutsschänke at Hanhof for lively dinner
conversation and to get to know each other not only as professionals but also as
individuals. (Our group has a lot of bikers).
Sadly, our second day concluded at noon – but we made great use of the morning by planning for the upcoming exciting year. For instance, coordinating a paper with 18 busy people is no small task. But, our coordinator Louise is definitely up to the task. Stay tuned for more updates as they develop!
P.S. Ever wondered what a room full of researchers do to relax at the end of the day on an overnight retreat? Why break into groups and play a competitive resilience factor cluster game, of course! Check out the images here to see what the groups came up with and which group claimed the title of victor