20th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists

From the 10th to the 14th September 2014, the European Association of Archaeologists’ 20th Annual Meeting was held in Istanbul.


Oxbow was represented at EAA 2014 by Managing Editor Julie Gardiner, accompanied by Dr Mike Allen, Series Editor for our new Studying Scientific Archaeology series (and Julie’s husband by pure coincidence). We had just a modest stall of display copies, partly because of the extortionate cost and partly because of inherent problems in getting large quantities of books through Turkish customs. Our books arrived safely but those of a number of other exhibitors did not turn up until halfway through the conference, and others not at all! Our main mission, however, was to commission new titles.

The old city of Istanbul across the Golden Horn from the Galata tower, with Topkapi Palace top left, Hagia Sophia top right and the Egyptian spice market in the centre.

With around 2000 delegates it was the biggest EAA yet. Spread around two enormous buildings (situated a good 5 minute hot and sticky walk apart) and with up to 10 parallel sessions in each at any one time, it was busy to say the least! The building we were in lacked any air conditioning – some of the lecture rooms got a bit steamy – but fortunately we were close to the main entrance and doors into the courtyard so there was a bit of a breeze, but it was very hot and humid all week. The whole conference is an enormous feat of organisation and we must applaud the organising committee for their hard work though, as on previous occasions, the exhibitors were rather left to their own devices and information provided left more than a little to be desired. There were moments of frustration: the fact that the organisers had sEAA2wopped round the position of many of the booths, to the annoyance of those who had chosen a specific position; the tables being about half the size of those we were promised; instructions to stay open until lunchtime on Sunday (a day when there were no lectures) followed by instructions to close by 6 pm on Saturday as the painters and decorators were moving in: and moments of amusement: the conference doner kebab stall doing a roaring trade in the middle of the courtyard every lunchtime; the first coffee break where two very small men turned up with two rather small coffee urns and a single plate of biscuits; delegates rushing madly around the building trying to find their next session; finding a suitable position from which to hijack every plate of canapés that went past at the cocktail party… I wonder if anyone managed to take home the 600+ page brick that was the book of abstracts.

But we sold lots of books, made lots of friends, caught up with authors and editors and hopefully commissioned a good raft of great new titles: proposals are coming in already. EAA is always a bit chaotic and definitely full-on and exhausting, but we were there, we did the business, got the tee-shirt (pashmina actually) and came away reasonably content. And as for Istanbul – wow! Well we were there, so we just had to stay on for a few days. Glasgow next year, not quite so exotic …

Julie Gardiner

EAA will next year be held in Glasgow on the 2nd to the 5th September 2015. Click here to find out about next year’s themes and to register for the conference.