Welcome by Eszter Bánffy
President of the European Association of Archaeologists
While our Belfast Annual meeting has recently come to an end, we are looking ahead already to the 30th Annual meeting, to be held in Rome! As you will be aware, the preparations have actually started years prior to this kick-off date, which happens immediately on the day after the Belfast AMBM.
Indeed, after three decades of existence, the EAA goes to Rome, to the “eternal city”. Some like this proverb, some not so much; archaeologists cannot really work with the notion of “eternity”, since our lives, work and entire perception indicate constant change. This is the main reason why the 2024 motto does not contain this well-known expression. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about our next venue is the awareness of continual changes in the material (and social) sphere. These can be detected in the palimpsest of antique buildings which have been in use over the past two millennia, undergoing adjustments according to their needs and being repaired after injuries caused by nature or by human conflicts. Yet, there is still some feeling of eternal meaning of memories and of power, as exemplified by the numerous medieval and later burial and memorial monuments that were erected in the Forum Romanum, apparently with the desire to become part of the spirit of the sacred place. These kinds of thoughts immediately hit all who read the townscape, the changes in the layers of debris, the transformation process on building walls.
You might say that I am overwhelmed, and I admit that I am – I trust and hope that the participants of the Annual Meeting in Rome will have similar impressions. The entire conference will be held in hybrid form, for the third time in our history, and we intend to keep it in this mode. The Staff and the Board, the Italian organisers as well as the 2024 Scientific Committee are busy coming up to the finishing straight, with all the organisation, logistical and financial questions, but also very much regarding the content, the programme.
Last year I expressed my hope that our next Annual Meeting will take place in a more peaceful Europe. This does not seem to have happened – yet, our clear principles will continue: no membership fee and no registration fee for Ukrainian members, and possibility for Russian and Belarusian members to attend without institutional affiliation. Our constant support for our members will not cease, if they are – or their archaeological heritage is – in need. Thank you all who share this care and looking forward to meeting you in Rome! Ci vediamo prossimo anno a Roma!
All the best,