Summer is back and temperatures throughout Europe are on the rise. As we transition from the previous La Niña trend of the last few years into an El Niño pattern, precipitation rates are expected to decrease. This has ominous implications, heralding high temperatures and extreme weather across Europe. Already, the 2020s have witnessed record-breaking heatwaves around the globe. Europe has been no exception; last year we saw the second worst wildfire season on record across the EU. These conditions have mixed implications for archaeology. In Norway, receding glaciers have revealed unprecedented well-preserved artefacts from the Viking Era and earlier periods. River levels along the Elbe and Danube reached historic lows, revealing ‘hunger stones,’ and offered a sobering reminder of conditions to come. Recently in Spain’s Caceres province, the Neolithic ‘Dolmen of Guadalperal’, submerged by the Valdecanas Reservoir since 1963, resurfaced once more from the reservoir’s receding waters. Venice’s famous canals have been running dry, even while spring flooding has taken lives and threatened livelihoods across northern Italy and parts of Central Europe.
Just as environmental and climatic issues continue to exacerbate problems throughout Europe, recent defence measures have been forced to ramp up the extent of the conflict on Ukrainian soil. Russia’s war has been disastrous in many ways, some of which are traced through this issue’s contributions. The impact on Ukraine’s cultural heritage and archaeological legacy is officially addressed by the EAA’s endorsement of the joint Position Statement. As trade in illicit objects looted from Ukrainian territories and cultural institutions has been rampant since the Russian invasion, we include a Newsflash segment by Fedir Androshchuk on the subject. Although they are not directed only at the dangers to Ukrainian cultural heritage, a Debate piece by Christy Wong (part I of II) and the overview of the Community on the Illicit Trade in Cultural Material by Marianne Mödlinger, Evelyne Godfrey, and Andris Kairiss also touch upon important issues in relation to the current situation there.
These and other important issues will be brought to the table at the EAA’s upcoming Annual Meeting in Belfast where we will join together to plan, discuss and debate the status quo and future of archaeology, to re-connect with previous co-workers, to meet with colleagues and make new friends, and to honour those who are no longer with us, like the late Prof. David Fontijn. In the spirit of this solidarity, this issue puts heavy emphasis on Northern Ireland. Our cover is graced by the Corrard Torc, a masterwork of Irish Bronze Age goldsmithing, expertly described here by National Museum of Northern Ireland’s Niamh Baker. We continue with an archaeologist’s insider guide to Belfast by Courtney Mundt and our Meet a Member over TEA chat with Prof. Eileen Murphy from Queen’s University Belfast. We also feature chat a with Win Scutt, who has been the EAA’s Social Media Editor for the last few years in addition to kindly providing our quarterly review of popular archaeology in the news: In Case You Missed It… Thanks for all of your hard work, Win! A second Newsflash by Kristina Penezić and Zorica Kuzmanović presents on the evolving state of archaeology in Serbia as the Serbian Archaeological Society celebrates its 140th anniversary. We also welcome the Archéologie des Puits (ADP) association’s Sacha Ranchin and Louis Lacoste to tell us all about the fascinating archaeological potential of wells. Jan-Heinrich Bunnefeld and Oliver Dietrich provide an Overview of Bunnefeld et al.’s recent work tracing the exchange implications of two Baltic amber beads discovered in Bronze Age northern Mesopotamia. Lyn Blackmore and Liz Barham et al. present the exciting find of an Anglo-Saxon elite women’s bed burial in Harpole, Northamptonshire. Dimitra Michael et al. give a Project Overview of The Bioarchaeology of Socio-Political Changes in Amphipolis (BIOSOCIOPOLIS) project. Alyssa White and Rick Schulting give a remarkable take on their investigation into one of the earliest shark attacks in the archaeological record, and Anne Marie Høier Eriksen and David Gregory give us the lowdown on a fabulously well-preserved 16th-17th century shipwreck in the Eastern Gotland Basin. Finally, Katalin Wollák reports on the EAC’s recent Heritage Management Symposium, touching on the importance and potential of historical, and even modern, archaeological heritage.
Take good care of yourselves and each other out there this summer; we look forward to seeing you in Belfast!
Samantha S. Reiter and Matthew J. Walsh