Themes of the Annual Meeting

1. Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections

Ancient communities around the globe were variably interconnected through cultural practices, subsistence modes, socio-political relationships, and ritual experiences. Local environments played a role in shaping the tenor, nodality, intensity, and duration of intra- and inter-community connection dynamics amongst and between foragers, farmers, and pastoralists.

This topic encourages sessions that explore the emergence of novel forms of human-environment and human-human interconnections and their subsequent evolution in subsistence arenas, social spheres, as well as in trade and political networks. The theme provides an opportunity to explore interconnectivity through a variety of theoretical frameworks including, but not limited to, niche construction, thing theory, the animal turn, personhood, and intersectionality.

2. Pandemics and climate change: responses to global challenges

Pandemics bring to mind similar patterns of human reactions and actions in crisis situations. Crises, such as pandemics and climatic shifts, require social responses to mitigate their impacts, regardless of the setting. In past crises, people acted and reacted according to similar patterns yet to be discovered. Whether in prehistoric or historical times, an increase in the diversity of options might have enabled innovative ways of dealing with a new situation as well as prompting a broadening of the economic and intellectual resources of communities.

Archaeology can make a decisive contribution by exploring resilience and the sustainability of human societies in prehistoric and historical times. The diverse ways in which people changed their behaviour towards the environment to adjust to climate change may have triggered fundamental cultural changes or vice versa.

Pandemics and climate change might have been linked, which necessitates the exploration of the topics together. Connections between environmental challenges, the development of epidemics and pandemics, and social reactions may be illustrated. To this end, sessions are invited which deal with socio-environmental aspects of climatic change and/or pandemics/epidemics.

3. The new normality of heritage management and museums in post-Covid times

The pandemic has changed the work of museums and cultural heritage preservation around the world. Communication has become more digital, exhibitions have been partially translocated to the web, and the results of excavations are being presented in new communication media. At the same time, contact to the guests of exhibitions and museums was partly lost, and the haptic experience of a real museum visit was temporarily not possible. However, first experiences over the last months show that the authentic experience of visits to museums and exhibitions is still being sought and is even partially stronger sought and enjoyed.

Hygiene regulations significantly affected the organisation of excavations. On the one hand, we thus experience a new form of communication and media processing that will also provide an added value in the future to further very successfully practised public relations work. On the other hand, digitalisation in heritage work has also experienced a push.

The EAA will serve to investigate the impacts of the developments in post-Covid times and to formulate prognoses for the future.

4. Globalisation and archaeology

People, goods, food, plants, animals, and micro-organisms have always been on the move. Worldwide interconnections between cultures and peoples find their expression in globalised exchange networks. The identification of alternating exchange pathways is still a challenge in archaeology in order to overcome narratives of unidirectional developments. Globalisation as a worldwide process, including the associated regional effects and reactions, are of primary importance. The underlying hypothesis – the more that people are connected, the lower the potential for conflict – is the starting point. In times of a pandemic, it is even more essential to know how people reacted in a globalised world in crisis situations: not only in industrial and post-industrial times but also in distant times, which provide us, so to say, with a mirror of our behaviour. Thus, the identification of phenomena with transformative power in the past is crucial to answer the question how foragers, first farmers, ancient societies or early modern urban communities reacted to ground-breaking crisis situations.

We invite sessions that pay special attention to cultural heterogeneity as well as to modes of acculturation and hybridisation and their relevance for the dispersal of technological innovations and the associated social relationships. We also welcome sessions that offer new narratives for an understanding of past globalisation through inter- and cross-disciplinary approaches, for example, focusing on the connections of central places/hubs with the hinterland and the identification of connecting nodes through the application of network analyses.

5. Assembling archaeological theory and the archaeological sciences

Over the past several decades, archaeological sciences have revealed new insights into the ways in which people acquired their food, shaped their diets, managed raw materials, distributed finished goods, fashioned tools, and moved across landscapes. Archaeological sciences continue to rapidly develop, playing an increasingly significant role in documenting ancient human lifeways. With information now routinely extracted at the macro-, micro-, and biomolecular levels, major developments in archaeological theory have opened new ways to think about how people and communities engaged with each other and interacted with the landscape and the built environment.

This theme seeks to explore the interplay between archaeological theory and the archaeological sciences, examining the ebb and flow of various theoretical currents and analytical approaches as part of efforts to come to a better understanding of our shared human past.

6. Material culture studies and societies

With a variety of traditional and innovative approaches to the study of artefacts, archaeology is leading the field of material culture studies worldwide. Archaeology studies the things people left behind – the patterns of production, distribution and consumption of materials and objects as well as the social implications of producing, using and discarding objects.

Increasingly sophisticated analytical methods, including isotopic and use-wear analyses, integrated with theoretical approaches, such as chaîne opératoire and cross-craft-interaction, have led to new insights into how people engaged with materials and artefacts throughout time. Material culture affects the world people live in, their interactions with each other and the social world they construct. Material practice, the agency of things and the social interpretation of the impact of material culture are increasingly defining the contours of social archaeology. The analysis of material culture expands into the heritage sector, with questions of authenticity, ownership and trafficking of archaeological objects as the most pressing concerns. We invite sessions that address topics ranging from individual artefact studies and material analyses to methodological and theoretical aspects of the role of materials within societies.

7. From global to local: Baltic-Pontic studies

Due to their geographical positioning, interactions between the Baltic and Pontic regions were formative for numerous developments in European prehistory and history. The wide area of inter-connectedness linked Scandinavia and the Northern European plain with the vast steppes as far as the Black Sea. Developments in Southeastern and Central Europe are also connected with those of the wider Eurasian landscape via the Baltic-Pontic zone of interaction.

We invite sessions that explore the archaeology of the Baltic-Pontic area from a variety of diverse perspectives, for instance, interpreting material culture, applying theoretical approaches, and exploring the latest scientific results in these regions, including Scandinavia and the Southeast. Special attention will be accorded to explorations of cultural heterogeneity and subsistence strategies in the various landscapes, the occurrence of parallel phenomena in the different areas, interconnections between cultures and peoples, and also to the region’s role in cultural reception, transformation and transmission in Europe’s history from prehistoric times to the modern ages.

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.
  • All session organisers need to settle EAA membership and Annual Meeting registration fee before the deadline set.
  • One person may organise no more than one session or round table as the first organiser, but may be co-organiser 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.

Session 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. Formal presentations are kept to a minimum and normally consist only of opening and closing remarks so that an open discussion is encouraged. Round tables are to be held in small rooms. List of confirmed discussants is required.



Filming and photographing

It is forbidden to film at 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.

Photographing is allowed without any restrictions unless the author of presentation explicitly dissaproves photographing by introducing a disclaimer at the beginning of his/her presentation.


Registration for the Kiel Annual Meeting is open. All delegates have to be current (2021) EAA members and pay for AM registration. Please check the registration policy tab for more information.

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