Under the conference motto Building Bridges five key themes were selected for the 23rd Annual Meeting of the EAA. The themes chosen by the EAA Executive Board, the Maastricht Conference Organisers and the Scientific Committee address the currently most important issues at stake in archaeology in relation to society. In one way or another all themes have the aim to build bridges: between projects, countries and disciplines as well as between social groups and cultures. Therefore in most cases, a multi-, inter- or transdisciplinary approach seems necessary. Sessions integrating Archaeology with other subjects such as History, Anthropology, History of Art, History of Science, Sociology, the Arts and/or Citizen Science are especially welcome. Archaeology’s relevance for society should be demonstrated and insights given into what it means to be human. Meetings of the EAA have always focused on archaeological theory and methodology, interpretation and heritage management. In Maastricht, however, we want to move ahead and to get more focus without losing what is of value. So within all five themes it will be possible to fit sessions which raise ‘theoretical and methodological perspectives in archaeology’ (all themes) or centre either on ‘interpreting the archaeological record’ (themes 3, 4 and 5) or ‘managing the archaeological heritage’ (themes 1 and 2). It is also possible to propose sessions outside the themes.
The Maastricht meeting allows experimentation with regard to session formats. This is to give more room to discussion and dialogue. Session organisers are invited to think about this explicitly. Sessions will be labelled as either ‘Session’ or ‘Discussion session’. A ‘Session’ is made up of a combination of papers (max. 15 minutes each). Within a ‘Discussion session’ a different format will be adopted. For example: sessions with a key note speaker with contributions from discussants and discussion; sessions with pre-circulated papers (with the sessions focussing on discussion only); sessions with papers of six minutes (and six slides); (thematic) poster sessions; round tables; field sessions, and other formats. Within ‘discussion sessions’ new roles should be explicitly identified: session organiser, key note speaker and discussant.
All sessions should aim to have scientific as well as practical, social and political impact. Sessions should initiate and continue transnational cooperation and further the discipline as a whole. Session organisers are responsible to summarize sessions (the appointment of a secretary could be helpful in this regard) as well as to draw and communicate conclusions from their sessions. They can do that for example by publishing a report on the session in TEA or another journal, by offering recommendations to the EAA Executive Board or by publishing a selection of contributions in a refereed journal or an edited volume.
EAA promotes participation, reflection and engagement beyond its European focus. Contributions from outside Europe are highly welcome: they can reflect on how archaeologists cope with similar issues in other cultural contexts or how Europe’s problems appear seen from a distance.