The EAA 3rd Annual Meeting took place in Ravenna, Italy 24-28 September 1997 at the invitation of the University of Bologna which was the first university to be founded in Europe. The City of Ravenna itself has recently been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list and offers a wealth of culture and beauty to its visitors, notably its splendid mosaics and basilicas.
At the Official Opening Session of the Annual Meeting held at the beautiful Teatro Alighieri, the EAA had the fortune to welcome the Mayor of Ravenna, Vidmer Mercatali and Walter Veltroni, an Italian Minister for Culture and the Environment. In Mr Mercatali’s speech he informed the assembly of the intention of the town to establish an archaeological park at Classe to celebrate the archaeological treasures to be found in the area with a museum, access to the Basilica and the excavations.
The delegates of the Annual Meeting had as part of their entrance fee a free ticket to visit the many historical and archaeological sites in Ravenna in addition to the opportunity to take part in the full and half day excursions planned for the last day. These took delegates to Bologna, the Etruscan city of Marzabotto and the Reggio Emilia city museum. Such activities gave them the chance to really make the most of their time in Ravenna and to expand their archaeological and historical knowledge in a most pleasurable environment.
The 3rd Annual Meeting certainly reflected the character of the host country and once again with 33 nations represented, the Meeting proved to be a forum not only of archaeological learning but also of many different cultures. As is traditional the conference organisers planned a variety of social events for all delegates to attend. These included a wine reception, the EAA Annual Party and the EAA Conference Dinner, all of them highly enjoyable. The delegates of course also benefited from the fabulous restaurants on offer in the town. After the serious discussions in the Sessions, these locations and events offered the perfect opportunity for delegates to socialise, network and relax, thus further developing the links the EAA is building between archaeologists across Europe.
The Academic Sessions
The Meeting was organised by a Steering Committee made up of EAA representatives and Italian archaeologists and researchers who represented the Universities and the Ministero per I Beni Culturali e Ambientali. The themes focused on the archaeological profession, its standards, profile and co-ordination in the context of the European Union, research covering all periods of archaeology and the archaeology of the region Emilia-Romagna where the Annual Meeting was held.
The academic sessions therefore included subjects such as: archaeological parks; the archaeology of cult; the earliest humans in Europe; restoring ancient monuments for public fruition; the origins of symbolic communication and archaeometry. Please find enclosed the book of abstracts that lists the summaries of all the sessions that took place for your perusal.
Of particularly notable interest were the Round Tables. It was here that agreements were made to:
set up a Standing conference of Heritage Managers representative of all the countries in Europe
draw up a directory of archaeological training opportunities in Europe particularly targeted at post-graduate archaeologists
develop the set of principles the EAA Working Party on Commercial Archaeology has so far drawn up to act as guidelines to those working in Commercial Archaeology in Europe.
At the EAA ABM the EAA Code of Ethics originally drawn up by Henry Cleere, OBE, was approved by the members. The intention is that all EAA members follow the Code in their professional conduct and thus maintain high professional standards throughout Europe. At all Academic Sessions and Round Tables the delegates were given the opportunity to benefit from simultaneous translation, thus enabling the largest number of people to participate as possible.
Three rooms at the newly constructed Palazzo Corrandini were dedicated to the display of posters available for viewing and study by delegates throughout the Meeting. These posters referred to and complimented the themes followed by the Academic Sessions and Round Tables. Summaries of these can be found in the Abstracts book enclosed.
An exhibition area for stands was set up for formal presentations of the activities of research or university institutions, public or private enterprises and publishers specialising in archaeology. These included displays from organisations such as Studio Archaeosurvey, Rovigo, Italy and the Institute for Minnesota Archaeology Consulting, IMA Consulting, USA.
The Palazzo Corrandini also housed a bookshop selling publications from Italy, the UK, Germany, France and Hungary in addition to a Multi-Media room displaying software and publications and a computer laboratory equipped with hardware, CD-ROM, printers and Internet access available for use by participants of the Annual Meeting. Evening lectures on the "Origin of European Peoples" were given on three of the four nights by well-reputed academics from Italy, Spain and the UK. These attracted not only many delegates but also many interested members of public.
The EAA 3rd Annual Meeting in Ravenna, Italy attracted a total of 759 delegates from 33 countries, three times the number present in Riga in 1996. Yet again it was a highly successful meeting.