|Dear EAA Members, dear European
Of course you would expect
European Archaeologist to be as European as possible. However, this
issue of TEA is so European that it surprises even me. The Debate
section in particular sees poignant statements that reveal a deep concern
with Europe and its archaeology. Martin Rundkvist bluntly states: 'The
thinking habits of North-western and Eastern European archaeologists are
very different'. Is this true, despite the fact that the EAA for almost
twenty years provides a forum for exchanging new data and communicating
existing paradigms, and that also a number of conferences have debated
'Archaeologies East - Archaeologies West'? Rundkvist claims that much of
archaeology in Eastern Europe is following the essentialist paradigm many
'Westerners' have abandoned due to the critical post-processual or generally
theoretical debates. Is there a new East-West split in archaeological thought?
Report on a meeting in Russia that brought together young archaeologists
from Eastern Europe may add fuel to the fire. It claims the unity of the
former Soviet states, now loosely connected in the 'Commonwealth of Independent
States' (CIS), and the author Vlasta E. Rodinkova expresses the wish that
such a conference should 'form a common scientific and partly ideological
field' for young CIS archaeologists. Obviously there is more than one European
archaeology, and we should be aware of different traditions and trends,
beyond the Western critical approaches.
Also Felipe Criado-Boado
in his Debate paper emphasises this way of critical
reminds us that the critical
debates that we, i.e. Western archaeology, intensified in the last two
or three decades enable us to be more self-aware and reflexive than traditional
archaeology was: archaeology 'has never had the ability to be so transparent,
or to be so unnaïve' as it has today, he says. And he reminds us that
archaeology has started to play new, non-nationalist roles: 'from the 1990s
onwards it became part of a project for a new Europe conceived as a hyper-nation.
At the same time, it was part of a cultural critique to open the way for
emancipatory demands, including the construction of a post-nationalist
Europe'. However, Criado-Boado sees a pressing need to reconsider the construction
of Europe and archaeology’s role due to the heavy crisis, which is not
only a financial crisis.
Another conference, one dealing
with two very particular types of monuments, is also able to
reveal different attitudes
towards 'Europe'. While Sardinian Nuraghi and Scottish Brochs are
juxtaposed in Brian Smith’s
Report, it becomes clear that we can compare different European regions
and histories without writing a 'Europeanist' history that deems apparently
similar phenomena such as Metal Age stone buildings as an example of 'European'
unity in diversity.' Rather, the conference obviously is an example how
to write histories of Europe (rather than European history) through diversity.
However, even the concept
of diversity is not an easy solution. Would we include the Ottoman Empire
as a component of 'Medieval Europe', or would we consider the Balkans to
be beyond 'Europe'? These are questions posed and discussed during a session
at this year's EAA meeting in Helsinki - see the Session
Report by Søren Sindbæk and Sam Nixon.
Other topics that re-emerge
every now and then are metal-detecting and how to turn it into a somehow
useful practice as well as the engagement with voluntary and hobbyist uses
of heritage (Suzie Thomas' conference report), publishing in archaeology
(Report by Emese Sarkadi Nagy, Debate
paper by C. Stephen Briggs, and Session Report
by Robin Skeates and Estella Weiss-Krejci). And this issue contains a remarkable
number of Session Reports and Announcements concerned with our heritage
under water (s. Riikka Alvik and Elena Pranckenaite; Björn Nilsson;
SPLASHCOS conference announcement).
Finally, let me remind you
that the 2013 EAA Meeting will take place from 4-8 September in
Pilsen. The deadline for
session proposals is 15 November! The Deadline for articles and
announcements for the TEA
39 summer issue is 15 April 2013. Looking forward to hearing from you!