As archaeologists, we benefit from a unique relationship with time. To paraphrase John Piper, we look at the tapestry of years, centuries and millennia from the back side – the side not meant to be viewed by the world at large. That special position conveys upon us both advantages as well as particular responsibilities. The hungry grant-writer is drawn to gaps in the weave, imagining how best to structure a repair. The eye of the young scholar is snagged by loose threads needing time to batten down, and the experienced researcher can unerringly find tangled knots by feel alone.
After several years of separation due to the COVID pandemic, we were finally able pick up the threads in person with colleagues near and far at the EAA’s hybrid “Re-Integration” Annual Meeting in Budapest, Hungary. From 31 August until 3 September, we met, debated, spoke, laughed, exchanged ideas and made plans. Matt and I were delighted to finally—finally—meet many of you in person, and to catch up on news both large and small.
As this issue marks the second year of our editorship, we would also like to take the time to send out a very big thank you to all of you who have contributed to The European Archaeologist this past year. We have enjoyed working with you and learning from you regarding the amazing work being done by archaeologists the world over. Given that the theme of the moment is both gratitude and wonderful work, we can follow the red thread directly to TEA’s photojournalism competition! Our sincere thanks go out to those members who sent in their wonderful images for evaluation as well as to the EAA’s photobank. All told, we had 17 entries from all over the world addressing the expressed theme of “What is the spirit of archaeology in 2023?”. Alongside TEA’s editors as moderators, a jury of professional photographers and fine arts professionals convened online on 1 October to evaluate the competition entries. Matt and I extend our heartfelt gratitude to members of the jury Theresa Airey, Charles W. Bowers and Sandy LeBrun-Evans who selected the five entries that moved on to the competition semi-final.
As per contest rules, the three winners from among these five contributions will be chosen by popular vote by EAA members during the EAA’s Annual Survey. Launched in mid-October, the deadline for participating in the survey (which you will have received online) is fast approaching. If you have yet to cast your vote, don’t delay!
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. When those words send a vital message, they become powerful communicators indeed. This applies to the contenders for our 2023 covers, and it is particularly poignant in relation to the cover of our 2022 autumn issue:
Now a junior sergeant of Ukraine’s Territorial Defence Service, archaeologist Andriy Olenych prepares to make a drawing of a Chalcolithic pit (Trypillia C II) discovered during the construction of a platoon base on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Author of the photo: Anna Argunova, soldier of Ukraine’s Territorial Defence Service
You can read up on the struggle to protect cultural heritage in times of war with this reflection on the current situation in Ukraine. Another thought-provoking debate regarding the origins of climate change is also included in this issue alongside the presentation of a once-in-a-lifetime gold discovery from Denmark. This issue also features two reports direct from the excavation trenches: one from a mysterious structure from Cyprus and the other from two medieval cemetery sites in the Herzegovina region.
We are also delighted to include some of the usual fare, including highlights from the EAA’s social media feed, a Chat with the Secretariat’s Krisztina Pavlíčková, who tells us about what it is like being involved with the financial side of the EAA, the EAA’s Statement on Nurturing the Cycle of Good Archaeological Practice, the minutes from the EAA’s recent Annual Business Meeting and two reports, including a fascinating conference on bodies and corporeality in ancient Egypt and a stimulating roundtable which addressed linking national databases and the future of hillfort research. The Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Community (PaM) is highlighted in this issue, and we as editors are delighted to present Eleanor Scerri in this autumn’s Meet a Member over TEA. We also include an interview with Pascal Ratier, organizer of the European Archaeology Days, who tells us about the successes and challenges of putting together national and Europe-wide events intended to bring archaeology to new audiences in new settings.
All in all, this issue reflects but a small portion of the patterns which we have been weaving these past years. Nevertheless, they come together to form a beautiful, multi-coloured tapestry of the past…one on which we are continually working…which is apt, as the EAA’s 2023 AM in Belfast is on the theme of “Weaving Narratives”.
Until we meet again, both Matt and I wish you the very best of luck in following the red thread of your research into the New Year!
Samantha S. Reiter and Matthew J. Walsh (Editors)