Organising an Archaeology Conference

This is the first year where I have been late submitting my Day of Archaeology post, but better late than never? This is my 6th year taking part – looking over what I was doing over the past six years just shows how variable the day to day tasks of being an archaeologist can be, and this year is different yet again. I’ve been sorting out logistics for  an archaeology conference, specifically the 7th Developing International Geoarchaeology conference, which we are hosting at Newcastle University this September. So the job of an archaeologist can also include event management! This is an international conference that happens every two years, and is the only dedicated geoarchaeology conference. For those not familiar, geoarchaeology is the application of methods and approaches from geosciences to archaeological questions. Given that a vast majority of archaeology is buried in the ground, geoarchaeology is applicable to most archaeology projects, in helping to understand the processes by which our cultural materials came to be where they are, when archaeologists find them hundreds or even thousands of years after they were discarded by people in the past. This is a crucial part of archaeology; we are not just interested in the objects, but the context in which those objects are found. This context information is what helps us understand, for example, whether objects are in their original location (a primary deposit),  or whether the object has been moved and redeposited at a later date (secondary or tertiary deposit). The conference registrations closed last week, so I now have the final figures on the number of people attending, and have to confirm all the arrangements for catering and room bookings, as well as getting the conference packs sorted. With around 80 delegates that is a lot of bags to pack with various bits and bobs! With the help of the organising committee I am also making the final edits to the book of abstracts, and compiling information for delegates on the field trips and workshops. It’s going to be a great few days with geoarchaeologists from all around the world gathering together to discuss the latest research.