EAA conference – the Big One of the archaeology world. If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere, as the song says. We (Giovanna Fregni, Brendan O’Neill and myself) were determined to make it a great one for the delegates who signed up to share their work, with free EXARC Digests and biscuits from Belfast’s finest small home bakery, The Old Oven Door –archaeology marches on its stomach and it was an early start!
The EXARC session, “Reconstructing past narratives through experimental archaeology aligned with the conference theme of weaving narratives ( in some cases literally!). It was truly a global event, with contributions from across Europe, Scandinavia, North America and the Middle East. Research presented was rich, original and varied, demonstrating what a huge cathedral we sing in – from wood cutting methods of Iron Age Scotland (Hamish Darrah), glassmaking in Roman Gaul ( Géraldine Frère, University of Namur), Cypriot pottery (Chase Minos, The Cyprus Institute) to Inuit sewing methods (Matilda Siebrecht, Groeningen University). The session had a healthy mix of academics, craftspeople, independent researchers, old hands and very early career researchers. There was mostly only standing room during the session which demonstrated how experimental archaeology catches the imagination and the curiosity of everyone, from professionals to enthusiastic amateurs. New friends were made, new collaborations were certainly born (looking forward to Darrell Markewitz and Adi Eliyahu-Behar putting their talents together!), and we must mention Matilda Siebrecht’s youngest co-author ever, who had quite a bit to say through her mum’s presentation – all valid! It was a superb day of bonhomie and great research – you really should have been there !