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More than 3,000 experts gather in Barcelona to debate on the future of archaeology

The church of Santa Maria del Mar held the opening ceremony of the conference.

The church of Santa Maria del Mar held the opening ceremony of the conference.

Talk by Margarita Díaz-Andreu, UB ICREA researcher and head of the organizing committee of the conference.

Talk by Margarita Díaz-Andreu, UB ICREA researcher and head of the organizing committee of the conference.

The opening counted on the participation of the Minister of Culture and UB lecturer, Laura Borràs.

The opening counted on the participation of the Minister of Culture and UB lecturer, Laura Borràs.

El vicerector d’Emprenedoria, Transferència i Innovació, Albert Cirera, durant la seva intervenció.

El vicerector d’Emprenedoria, Transferència i Innovació, Albert Cirera, durant la seva intervenció.

CCCB holds the European Fair of Archaeology.

CCCB holds the European Fair of Archaeology.

Editions and Publications of the UB stand in the Fair.

Editions and Publications of the UB stand in the Fair.

The Faculty of Geography and History is one of the head offices of the conference.

The Faculty of Geography and History is one of the head offices of the conference.

06/09/2018

Recerca

“Nowadays, archaeology is not about big findings but big ideas”, stated Felipe Criado, president of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA), who will gather today in Barcelona to hold this annual conference, which is jointly organized with the University of Barcelona. Between September 5 and 9 the city will be the European capital of archaeology to hold an academic event that will gather about 3,100 archaeologists from more than sixty-five different countries.

Under the motto “Reflecting futures”, the 24th Annual Meeting of EAA invites the most active experts on archaeology in Europe to reflect on the challenges and social action of this discipline in a moment of change in Europe and the world.

In a presentation for the media, Criado noted that public policies do not support enough the heritage preservation. In this sense, he reminded the attendants about the recent tragedy in the National Museum of Brazil –which he described as a “shame”- being an image “showing what happens with our heritage when our public policies are not able to work for the historical and cultural legacy”.

Margarita Díaz-Andreu, ICREA researcher of the UB and head of the organizing committee of the conference believes “archaeology is important because it has a social value that adds identity and makes people more participative”, and claimed for a “social convincement” in the archaeological value. For instance, “archaeology provides Barcelona with an own identity other cities do not have, from its Roman past to the Middle Ages and post-Medieval times”, said Díaz-Andreu. “People need to feel identified with the urban landscape where they live to feel it’s their own”, she said. The UB researcher also remembered Catalonia was pioneer in associationism and management archaeology –from which we are still benefiting.

Isidre Pastor, president of Associació d’Arqueòlegs de Catalunya (Catalan association of archaeologists), noted the professional task of archaeologists “has been consolidated” thanks to the existence of specific study degrees (bachelor and master degrees), as well as the consolidation of the legislative framework, of which Catalonia was the pioneer and which allowed setting the criteria for the regularization of the archaeological activity. In the 21st century, “excavations are the last thing to do and we should go for previous prospective studies”, said Pastor, who highlights the importance of preventive archaeology to guarantee archaeological performance.

Predrag Novaković, professor at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), highlighted that the meeting in Barcelona is ten times bigger than the opening conference that took place in 1994 in Ljubljana. This edition will gather all generations of archaeologists, men and women, academicians and experts from the private sector, apart from students. He also noted that in the eighties a great part of archaeology was carried out by public institutions, and now we can see a growth in the private archaeological sector and a growth in preventive archaeology.

Today, September 5, at 5 p.m., the church of Santa Maria del Mar will hold the opening ceremony for the conference, in which the Minister of Culture, Laura Borràs; the Commissioner for Culture of the Barcelona City Council, Joan Subirats, and the Vice-Rector for Entrepreneurship, Transfer and Innovation, Albert Cirera, will take part.

The opening conferences were given by Francisco Graica, professor or Prehistory and Archaeology of the UB, and Sonia Gutiérrez, professor of Archaeology at the University of Alicante. Afterwards, the opening reception took place in el Born, so that conference members could see the important archaeological and heritage tasks that are carried out in this place.

More than 3,000 communications and posters will be presented during the conference. Contributions have been organized on different theme lines. One of these will treat the new theories and methods in archaeology, such as the uses of digital technologies and methods of data and analysis. These will also include the contributions by archaeology in debates on mobility of population, climate change or sustainability. Like Díaz-Andreu said, a third part of the talks (about a hundred) bear topics on gender as well.

Another topic will be formed by several current research studies on the remains of diverse material and immaterial cultures of humanity. Therefore, a group of communications under the title “Mediterranean Landscapes” will focus on diverse cultures of this area of the planet and their relations.

The relation between archaeology and the future of the cities and urban environment is another area. It will present research studies, for instance, on the potential of archaeology to integrate immigrant populations, or on the challenges and opportunities the tourist sector can bring to this academic discipline.

There will be a series of contributions on archaeology within the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Last, for the first time in a EAA conference, there will be a topic on the challenges of dissemination in archaeology, especially in the field of museology. Other contributions of the conference will touch on more diverse aspects, such as archaeology and gender bias, archaeology at everyone’s reach, and heritage at risk due wars and political conflicts.

Dissemination program: archaeology in the streets

The meeting in Barcelona offers a wide program of dissemination activities to bring archaeology closer to citizens. It includes a conference series on several aspects of history of Barcelona, cinema sessions on archaeology and history and a book fair in the Barcelona Contemporary Culture Centre (CCCB).

People can also visit the archaeological site in the Faculty of Geography and History and can participate in a tour on the urban heritage of Barcelona. There will be several historical reenactments of the Roman Period –by the groups Phoenix and Barcino Oriens- and Iberian peoples –by the group Ibercalafell. In CCCB, visitors will see virtual reconstructions of several archaeological sites, and there will be a workshop on Roman cuisine and another on experimental archaeology in the gardens Victòria dels Àngels.

At the same time, the CCCB (C/Montalegre, 5) will hold the first European Fair of Archaeology, which will gather more than fifty exhibitors from Catalonia, Spain and Europe, in which visitors will see the new literature and archaeological projects.

The meeting is sponsored by the University of Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya (Ministry of Culture) and the Barcelona City Council (Department of Culture). The meeting has an organizing committee formed by Margarita Díaz-Andreu (UB-ICREA), Raquel Piqué (UA) and Sandra Montón (UPF-ICREA), as well as a scientific committee and an advisory committee representing the most important Catalan archaeology bodies and others from Spain. Logistics are taken care of by two Catalan companies (Kultura and Manners).

About EAA

The European Association of Archaeologists is the main body on archaeology and archaeological heritage in Europe, and the second biggest organization of this kind worldwide. Its current president is Felipe Criado-Boado. It has more than 3,500 active members, and over its almost twenty-five years of life, has involved about 15,000 people. EAA’s aim is to promote the development of archaeology, support professionals of this field and ease the relation between Aarchaeological heritage and society.
 

Images of the meeting are available here

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