Welcome by Eszter Bánffy, EAA President
EAA had to tackle with two challenging years, and one of these was bound to the planned Budapest Annual Meeting that turned out to the Virtual Annual Meeting in 2020, followed by yet another, 2021 in Kiel. We learnt to use opportunities for online sessions and discussion, yet, our Members have not been given the chance to meet, to discuss in person. Friendly talks and encounters of coffee breaks and evening pubs, let alone enjoyable excursions were impossible since 2019. Although we have just witnessed a great and crowded online event in Kiel, I am probably not the only EAA member who anticipates a large and joyful “family reunion” for the 2022 Budapest Annual Meeting!
The area of Budapest, its hills, caves, riverbanks and wetland areas have been inhabited since many millennia. The town that grew on the Roman military camp and town Aquincum (Óbuda), the medieval market town Pest and the seat of the Hungarian Kings in Buda were united to a capital, with a combined name given to the new city. Budapest then saw the flourishing decades of the “Kaiserliche und Königliche” Union with the Habsburgs, the turbulent wartimes and decline of democracy, until it became to a greater part bombed and destroyed during the siege in 1944-45. What the decades of the “merriest barrack” behind the Iron Curtain brought and how the city developed to a historically bound but still a 21st century metropolis after the change, is all recommended to see.
As it becomes clear, some themes from the 2020 VAM have been maintained due to their local relevance, like Roman archaeology, as Budapest lies exactly divided by the limes of the Roman Empire and the “barbaricum”; or the archaeology of freshwater sites, the Carpathian basin being similar to a huge water reservoir, determined by two major rivers and the largest lake in Central Europe. Due to more recent challenges, events with actually growing importance are added to the themes. Please feel free to propose sessions, to think about topics worth to discuss, thoughts to develop.
The 2022 Budapest Annual Meeting is planned to be an onsite conference with many personal encounters. Yet, EAA has built up a strategy that wishes to involve Members for whom, for whatever reasons, travelling and onsite attendance is not an option. Thus, while inviting everyone to come and participate in this unique event, we shall try to offer complementary online streaming of some events, perhaps keynote talks and a few sessions, according to our financial and technical possibilities. As we believe, hybrid meetings are the future.
Lastly, please, allow me a personal comment: the 2022 Annual Meeting will be my first year serving as your President. I consider myself as true European, German by work and residence, with ties to Britain and some other places, but above all, Hungarian by my roots, mother tongue and lifelong commitments. So, I am especially pleased by the opportunity to begin my work here and I am looking forward to greet you in person in Budapest.