Though spring is on our doorstep and the days are getting progressively longer, shadows abound in the second quarter of 2022. The winter’s COVID restrictions still throw shade on forward planning and the conflict in Ukraine casts a heavy cloud on Europe in particular and the world in general. Navigating within these uncertain times can be difficult. While we may look forward to bright moments on the horizon (such as the upcoming AM in Budapest), many of us have been affected by current events in ways that we could not have anticipated. Although the affairs of today and studies of cultural heritage have arguably always held hands, at the speed at which current European affairs are moving, navigating the fallout of recent events in Ukraine on that nation’s cultural heritage, cultural heritage practice and cultural heritage practitioners has becoming a hot topic, once again putting conflict center stage as a subject of both local and global importance.
As members of the EAA, we represent a huge swathe of highly divergent expertise. We comprise diverse interests and topical specialisms that reach across the globe. However, rather than separating us, these differences bring us together into an association that is more than the sum of its parts. One of the greatest strengths of the EAA lies in the fact that it is not only a broad network of like-interested individuals, but it is also a tightly-knit community. And as a community, we should (and have been) not only advocating for cultural heritage, but also aiding and supporting its champions: you. Alongside the Board, we extend our thanks to members the world over who have been instrumental in helping put together the EAA’s information page aimed at assisting colleagues affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Within this issue, we also include records of the EAA’s statements regarding this conflict.
In continuing development of TEA’s new ‘look and feel’, we once again return with the popular segments ‘In Case You Missed It’ with Winn Scutt the EAA’s Social Media editor as well as ‘Meet a member over TEA’. In addition to these, we include a long-overdue ‘Chat with the Secretariat’, this time featuring Sylvie Květinová, who is, alongside Katka and Krisztina, part of the EAA’s amazing managerial team. Though these colleagues are the beating heart of the EAA, they often work behind the scenes, known only to members merely through email interactions. They deserve our gratitude for their tremendous and heartfelt efforts, which have most recently included fielding emails and updates for the Ukraine conflict information page and helping colleagues in transition during these turbulent events.
Following a Newsflash covering recent events at the University of Sheffield, this issue moves on to its material-specific section. Topically, we include a segment highlighting a beautiful composite knife handle from Berwick-upon-Tweed and another presenting the archaeological methodology for repairs of the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris following the catastrophic fire that took place in April of 2019.
Next comes two articles that discuss ongoing research on extracting yeast from ancient Egyptian pottery and the results of new organic residue analysis as related to the function of Bronze Age metal daggers, the latter of which contributed an image featured on this issue’s cover:
Cover feature: Experimental harvesting of cereals with a metal dagger at the “CRA" (Research Center for Cereal Growing, Sant'Angelo Lodigiano, Italy). Photo of Isabella Caricola by Maria Letizia Carra.
Finally, this issue also highlights the recent EAC symposium on Archaeology and the Natural Environment as well as providing overviews of the MERC Community and the ArchaeologyHub-CSIC and COREX projects.
The 2022 spring edition of TEA is but a very brief sample of the breadth and depth of what we are and do as an association. Moving forward, let us continue to work for the application of archaeology and the greater archaeology community as a voice for the protection of cultural heritage, not to sow the darkness of discord, but rather to build bridges and solidarity for bright days ahead.
In In solidarity and in hope,
Samantha S. Reiter and Matthew J. Walsh (Editors)