Most respondents occupy academic positions (56,1%), followed by students (13,6%), and workers in museum (9,0%) and heritage (6,4%) sector. 5,4% of respondents are employed in commercial archaeology and 2,8% are retired. The average respondent is 40 years old resident of United Kingdom / Germany / Italy / Spain / United States / Hungary (the six most represented countries of residence are the same as in the 2020 membership report, according to which they constitute altogether 45% of EAA membership). A historical overview (Chart 1) shows that with the exception of Hungary, these countries rank among the most represented countries since the establishment of the Association (1993-2020). Full members comprise over 60% of EAA membership while students represent 23% and retired 4%; these values have been constant over the past ten years.
Chart 1: Historically most represented countries of residence of EAA members – percentage of total members 1993-2020.
Of the 1973 VAM participants, over 60% attended more than half of the Meeting (more than 3 days). Only 9% of the respondents did not attend any of the VAM; in total numbers (VAM attendees vs. current EAA members), about 600 current EAA members did not take advantage of this membership benefit. The main reason preventing members from attending consisted in lack of time, often due to job or family obligations that cannot be put aside when attending remotely. Some respondents stated they did not attend the VAM because of their distaste for virtual events; while the preference for in-person conference was inherent to virtually all responses, members appreciated the possibility to meet online given the current restrictions.
Almost two thirds of the respondents were satisfied with the Hopin software platform used, concurring that many problems were down to internet connection parameters on the participants’ side rather than the software deficiencies. The most frequent reservations referred to the small size of shared screen, low audio-visual quality, recording time limit (recording stopped after 2 hours), and the limited number of session participants shown on stage, connected with anonymity of most of the other session attendees. Hopin features that were positively received include the conference setup (rather than list of individual sessions), ease of jumping between sessions, and the possibility to comment in writing through chat, as it enabled discussions also with participants who at a physical AM would not interact e.g. due to their insecurity in the use of English. Technical support provided by volunteers and staff was highly valued.
The content of VAM academic sessions, keynote lectures and the Opening Ceremony satisfied virtually all respondents. Of the total 167 sessions, 127 sessions, all keynote lectures and the Opening Ceremony were recorded, and more than half of the respondents are likely or very likely to watch the recorded VAM sessions or recommend them to colleagues. Processing of the recorded sessions however takes time, and we hope to be able to release the recordings on the EAA YouTube channel in early 2021.
Networking in Hopin raised mixed reactions: while some respondents were excited by the random meetings, others found them intimidating and would prefer more discretion in the choice of people to meet.
While for some respondents the virtual Annual Membership Business Meeting (AMBM) was a disaster, others considered it a “first time experience” to learn from. The AMBM format is outdated and must be adjusted to improve its representativeness and transparency. The EAA Executive Board together with the Statutes Committee and the lawyers are working on possible new AMBM scenarios and will inform members in a separate communication.
The virtual European Archaeology Fair (EAF) was positively received, but some of the attendees expected more interactive features rather than just meeting the booth attendant, seeing a video or visiting the exhibitor’s web page. Detailed statistics about the EAF were sent to the exhibitors together with a request to fill in a short survey; the feedback received from both members and exhibitors will be used to improve the future EAF editions.
The 27th EAA Annual Meeting is scheduled to take place on 8 – 11 September 2021 in Kiel, Germany. Provided there are Covid-19 related restrictions at the time, 56% respondents are determined to attend in person and further 29% will decide at a later stage; only 12% would prefer to attend virtually and mere 3% do not plan to participate. The acceptable price for 45% respondents is between 50 and 89 EUR; 29% would accept paying registration fees between 90 – 119 EUR, and 16% would pay 120 – 149 EUR; only 10% of the respondents would be willing to register for 150 plus EUR.
Proposed alternative formats include pre-recorded presentations administered by EAA and available in advance, spreading the AM over a longer time (e.g. a month) rather than having so many parallel sessions, or transforming up to 50% of oral presentations into posters. The EAA Executive Board and staff will evaluate all software drawbacks and strengths mentioned, recommendations made for other software solutions, and general feedback received, and address them in organising any future virtual AM events / elements.
1 - Very unlikely (I will not watch any session), 5 - Very likely (I plan to watch several sessions and recommend them to others)
1 – Not satisfied at all, 5 – Fully met my expectations
1 – Not satisfied at all, 5 – Fully met my expectation