Decisions about our future Annual Meeting hosts and venues are taken several years in advance. Their themes and mottos are carefully chosen, developed and finally confirmed more than a year beforehand, as are our words of invitation to our members and others to join us.
Throughout the already long history of the EAA, Europe has undergone rapid and significant change, as has the character of the World we live in. Every aspect of life has become more complex. The very sense of Europe as an entity is still being negotiated and reframed from many perspectives. This makes our task of choosing our Annual Meeting partners and locations quite challenging but we are always rewarded with the variety, hospitality, and energy of our Annual Meeting host locations.
The motto of our 2020 Annual Meeting in Budapest is “Networking!”. It was chosen because Budapest, at the centre of Hungary and the Pannonian Basin has always been a continuous interface between different networks and networking systems in the past. This is where the cultures of East and West, North and South met in the past and it is where they still meet. This is proved by the diverse Hungarian Cultural Heritage. Many of us will experience the Budapest Turkish baths, for sure.
The choice of the motto “Networking” means more than this, however. Networking is a feature of trans-modern society and has become more immediate as a consequence of globalization. It is also an ever-present characteristic of human societies. Archaeology, more than any other discipline, has proved this to be more frequent than expected in the past. We have learnt that “Networking” is not only about humans but about culture and materials and Institutions. “Networking” reflects ties that bind us to our reality, to the complex relationships we live by.
“Networking” speaks of connection and interaction, of relationship and symmetry, of dialog and reflexivity. It is all about communication. It is to speak to the others, reflect on what they say and be pervaded by what we hear. “Networking” is the means that strengthens and gives voice and hope to the weak, and balances and teaches humility to the strong.
In 2020 EAA is going to Budapest to continue its very special blend of collegial “Networking” between Western, Central and Eastern Europe. We look forward to reinforcing our links with our Hungarian colleagues and to sustaining them and us all in feeling part of something bigger.
The last great international archaeological conference held in Budapest, was the Congrés International d'Anthropologie et d'Archéologie Préhistorique in 1876. In totally different circumstances, it is time now to hold a new meeting that renews our commitment to the use of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage for the welfare and benefit of our societies.