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Themes of the Annual Meeting

1. Networks, networking, communication: archaeology of interactions

Our past and present are linked by many different networks. Networks appear in many dimensions of our lives, acting as a stable framework for the human body’s cells, society, communications and interactions – network analysis helps us understand their hidden design. This theme focuses on the following questions: How can we identify the patterns underlying networks, investigate their structures, and measure and describe the web of interactions underlying past societies? How and why did these networks emerge, collapse or survive? How can we define the nodes and hubs of these interacting systems and the robustness of the networks? How can we recognise and trace the flow of networking in a given timeframe? What kind of archaeological data and artefact types are particularly suitable for network analyses? How can we interpret visualised networks in the current archaeological practice?

Sessions discussing the diverse nature of networks across time and regions, and addressing the interactions of past societies or focusing on recent archaeological advances in this field are also invited.

2. From Limes to regions: archaeology of borders, connections and roads

Recent nominations to inscribe additional European segments of the Roman limes on the World Heritage List have again drawn attention to the frontier zones of the Roman Empire. Concerning the limes itself, the results of recent archaeological research on watchtowers, forts, fortresses and the associated civilian settlements are essential to understanding the development of Roman frontiers. However, the frontier not only separated, but also connected the provinces to the outside world, and thus sessions on the Roman Barbaricum and its connections with the Empire are also welcome, alongside sessions covering the role of the Roman army in the daily life of Roman limes settlements as well as their role/function in the economic recovery of the limes zones. Another issue that can be explored in this section is the connection between the limes and the hinterland, with particular attention to roads and settlement networks, and topography in general.

In a broader perspective, sessions focusing on the special role of frontier regions in various time periods with an emphasis on the separating and connecting, permeable or impermeable nature of these regions are also invited.

3. Sustainable archaeology and heritage management in an unsustainable world

In our present unsustainable world, sustainability (i.e. the UN Sustainable Development Goals) is one of the great challenges we have to meet for the sake of future generations. How were different crises – draughts, long spells of cold weather, floods, starvation, lack of land and the like – managed in past societies? How did people exploit natural resources and overcome the challenges? What can we learn from the vestiges of earlier crises preserved in the archaeological record and in other sources? Another aspect of this theme is how we can manage and keep abreast of the growing quantity of archaeological and heritage data? How can we provide access to ‘grey literature’ and how can we connect different databases? For whom are we digging? How can we exploit the results of the excavations and give feedback to the public in the most effective way? Can archaeologists work with a 'small footprint'? Sessions discussing public or community archaeology and heritage as citizen science and beyond are also welcome.

4. Waterscapes: archaeology and heritage of fresh waters

Similarly, as in our past, our present and future is and will be dependent on water in many ways, and thus the make-up of and changes in waterscapes have always affected human society. This theme invites sessions that focus on archaeological interpretations of heritage and material records related to rivers and waterscapes. Despite the main focus on fresh waters, sessions on maritime archaeology are also welcome to set the general scene for archaeology and water.

The availability of fresh water had a profound environmental, economic and social impact on past societies as it affected the settlement dynamics of both rural and urban scenes, influenced demographic and social changes, and shaped the potentials and modes of the exploitation of the landscape through farming, husbandry, fishing or industrial activities. Beyond persistent efforts to control waters, communities always benefited from the connectivity networks provided by rivers and lakes for the distribution of various commodities and ideas; often, they used waterlogged environments as natural defences during times of conflict. The theme welcomes presentations focusing on the micro-, meso- or macro-level dimensions of the social, economic, technical and environmental aspects of waters throughout history.

Recent advances in the archaeological sciences, including several branches of environmental studies, as well as the contribution of spatial models to interpreting human-water interactions can all provide major insights for fruitful debates on the topic, therefore multi- and interdisciplinary approaches are particularly invited.

5. Theories and methods in archaeology: interactions between disciplines

This theme covers theoretical debates in archaeological interpretations and invites new narratives for understanding the past through inter- and cross-disciplinary approaches. In the past few decades, interdisciplinary approaches have had a profound and wide-ranging impact on archaeological practice and theory and have charted completely new avenues of archaeological interpretations for understanding the past. However, there is a need for reflecting on how archaeologists integrate new methods into their interpretations and narratives. This theme welcomes new and innovative methods that lead to new insights and challenge existing paradigms in archaeology. One focus will be on technological changes, on understanding material culture through social relationships, as well as on modes of acculturation and hybridisation. We also invite presentations approaching these subjects through interdisciplinary methods, genetics, bioarchaeology and Agent Based Modelling. New perspectives on human-animal relationships and on how humans exploited and changed their environments for economic, social and ritual purposes are also welcome.

6. Embedded in European archaeology: the Carpathian Basin

Due to its geographic position, the Carpathian Basin has traditionally been a region connecting East and West, North and South. As the westernmost part of the Eurasian steppe, it covers the south-easterly territory of Central Europe, whose boundaries are marked by the majestic Carpathian Mountains and the Alps. The encounters between a colourful variety of cultures shaped the history and traditions of Central European societies over the millennia: this is the region where the South-East European Neolithic cultures established themselves, where the Roman Empire had one of its most oft-assaulted frontier, where peoples arriving from the steppe built their impressive, but mostly short-lived realms, and where the Ottoman Turkish Empire reached its westernmost extent. Sessions are invited for exploring the archaeology of the Carpathian Basin from different perspectives: interpreting material culture, applying theoretical approaches, and exploring the latest scientific results in this region. Special attention will be accorded to the cultural heterogeneity and subsistence strategies in different landscapes of the Carpathian Basin, to interconnections between cultures and peoples, and to the region’s role in cultural reception, transformation and transmission in Europe.

7. 25 years after: The changing world and EAA's impact since the 1995 EAA Annual Meeting in Santiago

The 25th anniversary of the first official Annual Meeting held in Santiago in 1995 will be celebrated in Budapest. Considering the importance of the history and activity of the organisation during this quarter-century with its constantly changing conditions, it seemed prudent to invite the founders, former board members, officers and the initial core members as well as newcomers to an open debate about the key turning points.

This special theme focuses on the development of the applied methodologies and aims to provide an overview of the most popular, even if oft-reformulated innovative topics – at the same time, the role of human and emotional factors should also be emphasised.

The original idea behind the organisation was to connect researchers working far from each other in order to facilitate a unified study of European archaeology. Annual meetings were held all over the continent; long-term friendships, academic partnerships as well as common projects were initiated, the number of affiliated members has grown, and these annual meetings have become an important part of the members’ professional schedules.

In addition to the ‘evergreen topics’, the Santiago conference already addressed issues such as environmental and landscape archaeology, archaeology and the public sector, the presentation of archaeological results, and archaeology and tourism that have lost none of their importance and relevance. The concepts behind these topic titles have undergone profound transformations during the past decades, and many of them are now considered as separate branches of archaeology. All reflections concerning this process are welcome in the debate, which will certainly foster novel insights into the possible future trajectories of the organisation.

In the meantime, successive generations of archaeologists began their career, who now benefit immensely from the opportunities provided by digital archaeology and the new techniques of communication. It is our hope that the EAA Annual Meeting in Budapest will serve as a new start, in the best sense of the word, for the next 25 years.


The following main principles for sessions apply:

  • The maximum modular length of sessions and round tables is limited to full-day (4 blocks of 2 hours each, containing up to 28 oral presentations).
  • The time allowed for the presentation of individual papers is 15 minutes. However, flexibility may be given to individual session organisers to reduce the length of time allowed for each paper in order to include more papers, depending also on the format of the particular session.
  • Only EAA members are allowed to organise a session.
  • One person may organise no more than one session as the first (main) organiser, but may be co-organiser (2nd-5th author) of one other session.
  • Session co-organisers should be from more than one country.
  • Maximum number of session organisers is 5, including the main organiser.
  • A maximum of two contributions is normally allowed per delegate.

For detailed guidelines for organisers of sessions and round tables, notes for speakers and poster presentations please check the Guidelines tab in General Info.

Session formats

Regular session
Regular session  consists of 1, 2, 3 or 4  2-hours blocks and contains up to 28 15-minute presentations (although flexibility may be given to individual session organisers to reduce the length of time allowed for each paper in order to include more papers), including discussion, introductory and closing comments. While session organisers are welcome to invite submissions into their session, the session needs to be open for submissions by any presenter.

Sessions with pre-circulated papers

Session with presentations of 6 slides in 6 minutes

Session with keynote presentation and discussion

Discussion session
Discussion session is an interactive event organised around a specific theme, formal presentations are required. 

Round table
Round table is an interactive event organised around a specific and tightly focused theme. There are no formal contributions submitted, session organisers only need to provide a list of confirmed discussants. Round tables are to be held in small rooms.



Filming and photographing at virtual event

It is forbidden to film sessions, the Annual Membership Business Meeting and other official occasions without the permission of the EAA. The EAA and/or the Organising Committee may secure filming facilities for selected sessions and the Opening Ceremony to be broadcast / streamed. Session organisers will be approached by EAA staff and offered this facility when available and informed about the selection criteria.

Please note that authors might oppose taking screenshots / photos of their presentation. We do encourage authors to add watermark, copyright and/or disclaimer to each slide of the presentation. 

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