3rd International Congress of Biomedical Sciences and Methods in Archaeology, 6-9 November 2014, Bordeaux, France
The 3rd International Congress of Biomedical Sciences and Methods in Archaeology was held in Bordeaux, France from the 6th to the 9th of november, 2014. That is the third to be organized, after Herakleion in 2008 and Ephesus in 2011, initiated by the universities of Crete and Cyprus. This congress, since the beginning, aims to highlight numerous new trends in bioarchaeology research that are made possible by the rapid development of current biomedical science and technology. The audience is widely international and the language of the conference is english.
The organizing committee was presided by H. Coqueugniot and O. Dutour from the Research Unit PACEA-CNRS-University of Bordeaux (UMR 5199) and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Laboratory Paul Broca), and by C. Trompoukis from the Department of the History of Medicine (University of Crete). The Congress was financially supported by the CNRS, the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, the University of Bordeaux, the LabEx des Sciences Archéologiques de Bordeaux (LaScArBx) and the Fédération des Sciences Archéologiques de Bordeaux.
73 participants from 16 countries took part in seven lecture sessions and one poster session. The conferences topics were diverse but mainly focused on the various disciplines of biomedical sciences, such as paleoanthropology, bioarchaeology, paleopathology (fig. 2) and paleoepidemiology. Biomedical and physical methods in archaeology, such as biomolecular and biochemical analysis, and especially those concerning the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, were highlighted at the conference this year. Other highlights included new trends in physical methods in archaeology, featuring CT-scan analysis, X-ray microtomography and 3D microstructural methods, as well as methods used in mummy studies and the history of medicine and health.
During the congress, additional activities and conferences were proposed to participants. On the first day a visit to the PLACAMAT platform (Plateforme Aquitaine de Caractérisation des MATériaux, UMS 3626) was organized in the ICMCB building. This unit was created on January 1st 2014 in collaboration with the CNRS, the University of Bordeaux, the Aquitaine region and the European Union. This platform provides devices and skills to the physicochemical characterization of materials (fig. 3).
A public conference by Prof. J.-J. Hublin, from the Max Planck institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, entitled « Néandertal décodé », took place at the end of the first day in presence of a large public. The official Congress dinner was held at the Café du Port in Bordeaux on the second evening. For those who wanted, the last day (Sunday) was devoted to the discovery of the PESSAC-LÉOGNAN vineyards.
The three days of the conference were punctuated by coffee breaks, lunch breaks and a welcome buffet offered by the congress organisers, proposing various culinary specialties of Bordeaux such as foie gras, magret de canard, cannelés and, of course, famous Bordeaux wines.
The proceedings of the 3rd BMSA are expected to be published very soon. Moreover, Jane Buikstra, one of the key-participants and chairwoman of the bioarchaeology session, proposed that some of the lectures be published in the « International Journal of Paleopathology ».
Despite cold and rainy weather, this congress was a success. It gave me the opportunity to present part of my doctoral thesis (Oral health status of the Neolithic populations in the Near-East: the impact of the neolithisation processes 9820-6000 cal. BC, fig. 4), and to meet important researchers from these disciplines. Furthermore, the conference focused on the latest scientific methods used in archaeology, including several discoveries about tuberculosis antiquity made only a few weeks prior to the conference.
My only reservation concerns the high cost of registration, which probably deterred Masters and PhD students from attending the conference.
The next BMSA congress will be held in Canada in 2017. Given the success of the 2014 congress, I plan to make it to Canada in 2017 (fig. 5) !
Bérénice Chamel est archéologue et spécialiste d’anthropologie biologique, attachée au laboratoire Archéorient/UMR 5133. Elle a soutenu en 2014 une thèse à l’Université Lumière-Lyon 2 sur “L’impact de la néolithisation sur l’état sanitaire des populations du Proche-Orient”.