Building bridges, together

by Felipe Criado-Boado

Dear members,

there will be a total of 175 sessions with almost 1800 papers, posters and other contributions, and 1700 different first authors. The Scientific Committee did a heavy work in reviewing all the proposals and drawing up the academic programme. The conference will be the result of close cooperation with the three Dutch government levels: the community of Maastricht, the province of Limburg and the state of the Netherlands. They are all contributing in a very substantial way to a huge organizational and economic effort that keep the costs of the conference as low as possible for individual attendees.

Moreover, let me remember that this year our EAA Annual Meeting coincides with the 25th anniversaries of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union and the Valletta Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage. Both have fundamentally influenced our lives as European archaeologists and citizens. As they reach their 25th birthday, their rationale is disputed in many ways. There is a concern that the principles of the European project, and those of current European archaeological heritage resources management have become somewhat lost between an odd blend of neoliberal hegemony, techno-bureaucratic practice, political correctness and wishful thinking. Many of us feel discouraged about this reality. But it simply reminds us that we must develop if we want to preserve what we have gained through the union.

Therefore, Maastricht 2017 is a dynamic and exciting point in the development of the EAA as a more effective as a multi-national organisation. Maastricht will consolidate the implementation of EAA’s Strategic Plan. A new concept of EAA Communities will be introduced to foster member engagement and to mobilise EAA’s intellectual capital. The Maastricht AM will experiment with new formats, new things, and new themes as part of the EAA’s focus on the future, without losing sight of the best of EAA’s spirit. This derives from a combination of research, management, teaching and politics regarding the archaeological heritage. These aspects are transversally present in the AM´s themes. Actually, “transversality” is the underlying character of EAA.

As ever, the success of our Annual Meeting will be the result of the work that we all will undertake at Maastricht. Being together we will experience again the mix of dynamism, intellectual ambition, practical relevance, good mood and the comradeship that has always underpinned EAA’s collective spirit. Please, bring your best to Maastricht for building bridges together.