In early September I was in Glasgow for the annual meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists. This conference, which was three days in length plus an opening day, was attended by over 2000 delegates from across the world. I received an extremely warm welcome from Glasgow, especially the friends of a friend that let me stay with them for the duration. I really enjoyed my time in the city, and at the conference! This blog post will document the sessions that I attended and some of the papers that really stood out for me.
I began the conference on Thursday morning in “Farming Frontiers”, which was a two-block long session. There were some interesting papers in this session, especially Luc Amkreutz speaking about the Mesolithic-Neolithic frontier in the Netherlands. The frontier here is very interesting, as the wetland environment favours a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, meaning there was no reason for people to adopt agriculture or animal husbandry. In the afternoon I attended Grave Disturbances about the secondary manipulation of human burials. Whilst not my normal species, the session was useful from a taphonomic perspective and had a very interesting paper on soil micromorphology used to detect intrusion into graves. However, I feel that a major form of evidence was missed in that no fracture analysis was performed on the skeletons, and no micro-taphonomic analysis of the bones themselves was performed either. After this session I went to “The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life”, which concerned waste and waste management in archaeological context. In this session Lee Broderick’s paper was the stand out for me, as it was both about Exeter (yay!) and used Fracture Freshness analysis within the zooarchaeological analysis. Thursday ended with a Whiskey reception on the beautiful Glasgow university campus. A perfect end to a long day!
Thursday was the only day which I really spent session hopping. On Friday I was in the same session all day – Isotopes to Farmscapes. Due to our travel arrangements we were arriving at the uni at around half 7 in the morning, so I was first into the session room, which was the nicest room that I was in for the whole of the conference! Amy Bogaard started us off with a great paper linking Moroccan modern faming to examples from the archaeological record, which was well presented and displayed – entirely necessary considering the 8am start! In these sessions there was more isotopic analysis than I’d ever seen before; but the papers were easy to understand even for a slight science-phobe like me! In the third session was the highlight for me – the team NeoMilk paper, which both introduced the project and showed off our integrated, combined approach to the dairying revolution of Neolithic temperate Europe. It was presented by Jessica Smyth and Roz Gillis, who both did a fantastic job of showcasing the work we have all done on Ludwinowo 7, Poland.
For the final day I started in “Moving the house posts: mobility and permanence in (pre-)historic dwelling, farming and resource management”, which had some really great presentations in it. Among them was fellow NeoMilker Roz Gillis, who presented an amazing review of animal resource management and mobility in Prehistoric Scotland and perspectives for future research. I then settled into “At Home in the Neolithic”, where I stayed for the rest of the day. There were too many great papers to relate here, but I particularly enjoyed Penny Bickle’s talk on The Neolithic Everyday which challenged us to rethink how we approached Neolithic dwellings.
Overall I really enjoyed the conference. The location was fantastic and it was great to see so many of my NeoMilk colleagues. The next conference I’m going to is the AEAs in York in November – so watch this space!