The International Study Group on Music Archaeology (ISGMA) is a pool of researchers devoted to the field of music archaeology. The field comprises research methods of musicological and anthropological disciplines, such as archaeology, organology, acoustics, music iconology, philology, ethnohistory, and ethnomusicology. The study group is hosted at the Austrian Archaeological Institute (Austrian Academy of Sciences), the Department for Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Würzburg, and the Department for Ethnomusicology at the Ethnological Museum Berlin (Ethnologisches Museum Berlin, SMB SPK, Abteilung Musikethnologie, Medien-Technik und Berliner Phonogramm-Archiv).

Upcoming Events

12th Symposium of the International Study Group on Music Archaeology

Artefacts – Images – Texts: Archaeology and Historiography of Sound

25‒29 September 2023, Würzburg, Germany

Place: Residenz Würzburg, University of Würzburg

Organisers: Andreas Haug, Florian Leitmeir, Dahlia Shehata, Oliver Wiener



Schedule: 25 September: Arrival, welcome and key-note speeches; 26-29 September: Conference panels, workshops and concerts; 29/30 September: Departure.

Drawing inspiration from the conference location in Würzburg, with its long academic tradition in diverse fields of research into music history, the 12th Symposium of the International Study Group on Music Archaeology will focus on the multiple interdependencies between archaeology, philology, and historical musicology in both thematic and methodological terms. The foundations of music-archaeological research consist of the analysis and reconstruction of archaeological artefacts. This work provides a basis for narratives about the meaning and influence of sounds within their overall historical settings. Furthermore, the results of music-archeological research make a crucial contribution to multisensory approaches to ancient cultures. The investigation and evaluation of past music cultures relies equally on insights derived from archaeological as well as philological research focused on questions such as:

  • What stories or histories can be uncovered through the analysis and reconstruction of past musical instruments?
  • In what ways can interdisciplinary music-archaeological methods and theories break down the traditional boundaries between archaeology, philology, music history, and other disciplines involved in the field of reconstructing music-archeological artefacts?
  • How do the materials, the building, playing and tuning of instruments, and the reception of sounds contribute to an advanced narrative of the ancient world’s music histories?
  • In what ways can music and sound archeology be practiced as part of a culture of the senses?
Bearing in mind the conference’s objective of establishing links between the archaeological, philological, and historical disciplines, all contributions with topics relating to any aspect of Music Archaeology, Music History, Ethnoarchaeology, Ethnomusicology, and Music Philology will be equally welcome. We warmly invite scholars and students of the above fields to participate and contribute to the conference. Please send your title and abstract (100-150 words) in English or German by 30 September 2022 to: Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes in length. Proposals for workshops as well as posters are also welcome. All proposals will be evaluated by a committee of ISGMA members.

Accomodation will be arranged by the conference organisers starting in November 2022.

We plan to apply for conference funding from the DFG (German Research Foundation). If this application is successful, there will be financial support for travel and accommodation.