Plans & objectives

The project will be implemented within 5 work-packages.

WP 1

Systematic gathering of materials: work in archives, libraries, on site (material analyses)

WP 2

Integration of experimental methods: mapping, embodied experience, pilgrimage routes

WP 3

Processing of materials and synthesis: reconstruction, function, rituals, space

WP 4

Dissemination, exploitation, communication: publications for academic and general audience, movies

WP 5


The specific research and innovation objectives of the CONQUES project

A. To collect site-specific (WP1–2)

  1. archival materials about restorations and unpublished archaeological excavations present in archives in Conques, Rodez, and Paris;
  2. hard data emerging from archaeometric analyses of: a) mortar of the abbey-church and the cloister; b) wooden structures in the treasury and the abbey-church (C14 and dendrochronology);
  3. a series of data resulting from non-invasive analysis (ground-penetrating radar [GPR] and spectral analysis using spectrocolorimeter, multispectral imaging sensor and hyperspectral imaging sensors in the visible and near-infra red range);
  4. data on the acoustic properties of the abbey-church for the digital reconstruction of the sonic imprint/effect within the building.

B. To interpret the archival and textual data from the 19th and early 20th century in light of the intentional (re-)uses of the past for political, nationalistic, and economic reasons (WP3). This re-evaluation will:

  1. give basic historiographical framework to understand the site;
  2. deconstruct the stereotypes about the past in the construction of the mythology of the “Dark Middle Ages” and past manipulations of history to promote nationalistic, romantic, and economic ideals, which had a dramatic impact on the last two centuries.

C. To propose a new framework for the analysis of the medieval monuments of Conques (WP2–3). The data collected within the OBJ-1 will be used to:

  1. resettle the relative chronology of all the main structures and objects;
  2. offer new interpretations of iconographical motifs in images and architecture;
  3. complete the architectural and monumental elements with the reconstruction of liturgical and ritual practices;
  4. reconstruct the original liturgical furnishings of the abbey-church, including the reconstruction of the performative practices.

D. To share the knowledge about this exceptional site of cultural heritage with both academic and non-academic audience (WP4). The research team aims to:

  1. design the Global Conques Database (GCD) of all relevant documents – visual and textual – about the site;
  2. prepare a series of outputs for European and global community of scholars;
  3. create a space of exchange about material and immaterial heritage for local community, which shall also involve interactions with pilgrims and tourists outside of the usual commercial channels;
  4. produce a series of outputs for the visitors of Conques (guidebooks etc.); produce videos and documentary movies for international non-academic audience to promote knowledge about Conques.

E. To create a protocol involving all fields of research – art history, history, anthropology, music and performance studies, archaeology, archaeometry, digital technology, and visual studies – in an overarching analysis of the historical site of Conques from the 9th to the 19th century. (WP3–5).

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