Welcome from President E. Bánffy

Dear EAA members,

As I look out of my window over the foggy and icy landscape of Frankfurt in January, I would like to open this issue by extending my best wishes to you for 2022; I hope that this new year will be a good one for you, my fellow EAA members! May it be spent in good health, may your archaeological work as well as your social networks be filled with success and joy, and may you experience both of the latter increasingly in person!

Once again, we have put a tough year behind us. If at all possible, lockdowns due to the pandemic made it difficult to do fieldwork and made attendance at meetings, workshops and conferences feasible only in a virtual format. In addition, though it was fortunately a success, this past year also saw a second annual meeting which took place largely online. While I was personally present in Kiel, ever since, our monthly management and board meetings have been carried out exclusively in a virtual context. This has created a bizarre situation; although we work closely and intensively together, several of us have never met in person. Nevertheless, it seems to me that Board Members’ strong commitment and interest in serving the EAA community ensures a jolly atmosphere during meetings which cheers up both the Board and Staff and further renews our determination to continue giving our best to the association. Though we had hoped to organise an in-person Executive Board Meeting in Prague in February, the current infection rates of the last virus variant make this plan unrealistic. At present, we have pinned all our hopes and efforts on the 28th Annual meeting in Budapest; this time we must be able to come together …

And speaking of preparations for the 28th Annual meeting, the Scientific Committee has decided upon sessions and the Call for Papers is now open! Contracts with the exceptional venues at which the Annual Party and the Dinner will take place are also in progress.

Meanwhile, in October 2021, some members expressed concerns on social media about attending the EAA Meeting in a country that shows signals of an unfriendly attitude to LGBTQIA+ people and communities. The Executive Board has taken these concerns very seriously and has discussed them both internally as well as with the local organizing team members. As a result, we put together a series of arrangements, including a webinar and Q & A with the Háttér Society (Hungary’s largest civilian group working for LGBTQIA+ communities). This event was recorded, and is still available on our YouTube channel as well as on the conference website, which further describes the measures taken by the EAA to ensure that the Budapest meeting will be a safe place for everyone. Róbert Buzsáki (the attending member from the Háttér Society) has also prepared a summary and discussion  which is included in the following pages of this issue of TEA.

I would like to take the occasion to thank the local organisers and the whole community of archaeologists in Hungary for their many long years of tremendous effort to make a great Annual meeting happen in 2022. The EAA stands with our colleagues in Hungary; rather than boycotting, we express strong solidarity and our full support and appreciation for all the intense work which they have put in for the conference in Budapest.

The positive and creative atmosphere mentioned within the Board seems also to be reflected in TEA. Our new editors, Samantha S. Reiter and Matthew J. Walsh have jump-started the renewal of TEA (soon to include COFFEE as well, through a new collaboration with the EAA’s Social Media team! ) with a series of nice and funny (but also interesting and important!) new sections, ideas, and pieces of information. Dear EAA members, please take these innovations as further signs of the dynamism of EAA life which binds us together across the many different countries, languages, interests or career stages which characterize our many members. TEA is also introducing members’ faces and personalities, and will help us to get closer to each other, in spite of the distance and lockdowns. It is worth getting into the following pages, in order to experience a good contribution and a good connection at the start to the year regardless of the foggy and icy winter and the difficult times.