MERC is a collective of medieval archaeologists from around the globe. It is the successor body of the Medieval Europe Congresses that were held in York, Bruges, Basel, and Paris from 1992 to 2007 (see details here). MERC exists for the same purposes. It aims to promote research through medieval archaeology (AD 400-1600) in every country in greater Europe by providing a hub for existing societies and researchers, aiding practitioners in Europe and the rest of the world. Its ethos is a medieval archaeology without borders.

In 2012, at its inaugural meeting in Helsinki, MERC signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the EAA for the period to 2017, open to review every five years. Through this, the five-yearly meetings of the Medieval Europe Congress have been superseded by meetings at and within the annual conference of the European Association of Archaeologists. One of MERC’s principal objectives is to raise the profile of medieval research within this conference.

Besides sponsoring dozens of sessions at the EAA each year, we hold a forum, a roundtable, and a session called ‘In with the New: The Future of Research in Medieval Europe,’ featuring early career scholars. We also host an annual gathering, the MERC party, at the EAA conference, a social event that provides medievalists at the conference with a venue at which to talk about their work in a relaxed setting.

MERC also does work beyond the EAA conference. It has, for example, prepared the MERC Manifesto, which lays out our vision for a socially-engaged medieval archaeology, one with the potential to enhance cultural value all across Europe. The document demonstrates the significance of the legacy and contemporary relevance of the medieval and early modern, and illustrates ‘Why Medieval Archaeology Matters’. The Manifesto builds upon the Burra Charter and highlights the guiding principles needed to foster and develop social value in the context of medieval archaeology. Case studies that embody one or more of these guiding principles are presented as examples of best practice.

MERC holds a postgraduate and early career conference every other year (with an interruption during the first two years of the global pandemic. The first conference was held in 2019 in Pula, Croatia, and the second, this spring, in Prague.

EAA members can register their interest in MERC by ticking the relevant box in their EAA membership profile. This enables the MERC Committee and EAA to contact just those EAA members who have an interest in medieval Europe. MERC also has a Facebook page where you can exchange information and ideas, and ask questions.

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