Greetings from Belfast! We are delighted to invite you to join us in our wonderful city for the 29th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) which will take place from the 30th August to the 2nd September 2023. The event will be organised by the Department of Archaeology & Palaeoecology in the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s University Belfast, working in conjunction with Visit Belfast, Tourism Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council, and supported by a range of partners from across the island of Ireland.
The capital of Northern Ireland since 1921, and with its origins as a small Medieval settlement at a crossing point over the River Lagan, by the late 19th century Belfast (Béal Feirste, “The Mouth of the Ford”) had developed into a major industrial and manufacturing port on the Irish Sea, nestling in a valley surrounded by the Belfast and Castlereagh Hills. The old factories of “Linenopolis” have long since gone but we haven’t forgotten our industrial past and we have a rich legacy, best personified by the Harland and Wolff shipyard and its most famous vessel, RMS Titanic, which is commemorated at Titanic Belfast, a visitor attraction opened in 2012 to celebrate our shipbuilding and maritime heritage. In more recent times Belfast has become an educational and commercial hub and is the centre for a range of new and exciting creative industries, most notably those associated with television and cinema production. The Titanic Studios are now one of Europe’s largest film studios, and were used by HBO for Game of Thrones, with Northern Ireland home to more “Seven Kingdoms” filming locations than anywhere else in the world.
Belfast witnessed many tragedies during the bleak years of The Troubles but since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 the city has been on a journey to a new era, with our cultural heritage reflecting both the Irish and British aspects of our shared past. This cultural activity centres in the “quarters” that make up the city, with arts and culture promoted in the Queen’s Quarter and the Cathedral Quarter, while the Gaeltacht Quarter in the west of the city is an area where the Irish language is promoted. As one of the safest cities in the United Kingdom and Ireland we are renowned for our warmth, easy ways and plain-speaking sense of humour. Our pubs are legendary, and there is no better place to meet and enjoy the “craic” with friends and locals so you can be guaranteed the warmest of welcomes in our city.
Getting to Belfast couldn't be easier. There are sea-crossing ferries from Scotland, a direct rail link and buses from Dublin, and two airports (Belfast International and Belfast City – George Best) where you can fly direct from over 20 European cities. Once you arrive, you'll find it's just as easy to get around as it was to get here; Belfast has a small, cosy city centre and the conference will be held in the heart of the town at the award winning International Convention Centre Belfast (ICC Belfast) located next to the River Lagan in the heart of Belfast.
Our programme of tours will ensure you have the opportunity to explore a variety of fascinating archaeological sites of all periods across our island on the western edges of Europe.
We look forward to seeing you in Belfast!
Eileen Murphy & George Diamondis
(Conference organisers – Queen’s University Belfast & Visit Belfast)