On January 20, the INRAP (French Institute of preventive archaeology research), overall coordinator of the European Archaeology Days (EAD), invited the national coordinators as well as several partners of the event at the UNESCO in Paris for a day of get-together and discussions. 19 countries were represented during the Forum, with the participation of 26 national coordinators. Lygeri Papagiannaki represented EXARC at the EAD Forum, as its EAD coordinator.
The welcoming word of Dominique Garcia, president of the Inrap, was followed by Polina Komenkho, representative of the European Commission, who addressed the ways culture can contribute to the development of a European identity, and by Ann Degreave, president of Europea Archaeologiae Concilium, who focused on the significance and public benefit of archaeology. Finally, Pascal Ratier, coordinator on the EAD for Inrap, presented a review of the EADs since 2019.
According to this review, European participation to the EAD has steadily grown, from 18 countries in 2019 to 30 countries in 2022. Despite the inevitable slowdown due to the pandemic, 1516 venues hosted events in 2022 and many more are welcome to join in the following years.
A series of workshops followed, with four groups working at the same time on different subjects: mobilization of actors, communication, public participation and the future of the European Archaeology Days. The EXARC representative took part in the latter. She got to listen to and share different points of view, ideas, suggestions, as the group was very eagerly reflecting on the strengths and endless opportunities of the EAD, but also on potential weaknesses, and discussing the best ways to move forward.
In the afternoon, the participants attended the summaries of each workshop. It is worth mentioning that experimental archaeology and living history came up in several discussions - they are considered wonderful means to attract new audiences and talk about archaeology in a very tangible and lively way. EXARC has been identified as a key partner that can federate and animate this network, and can bring its members into contact with other actors across Europe.
The participants shared a common will to sustain this young pan-European celebration and to keep honouring the diversity of archaeological and historical heritage throughout Europe. To sum up: ''Thanks to the hard work of INRAP, the archaeologists across Europe and the commitment of the national coordinators, the future of European Archaeology Days will be brilliant!''.
Thanks to Pascal Ratier and the INRAP team for this perfectly organised Forum, followed on Saturday by a visit to the Musée de l'Homme. Until next time...