It feels enormously, deliciously nice to be back home again after several weeks of being only there for a very short breather and then off again to something somewhere. Even though I enjoyed all the away-time a lot – Christmas with the family, New Year with friends, the EAC with colleagues – I am now really content with being home for some time, getting stuff into order and taking care of all the interesting things that were on the back-burner all this while. And catching up on cuddling the cat!
But you probably want to know about the conference much more than about how happy I am to be home again, so…
The EAC took place in two locations - one of the university buildings (which was ample room for the ~100 participants of the conference) and at St Fagan's, a little ways outside Cardiff. It started with a very nice meet-up in the Pen and Wig on Thursday evening and then went into a tightly-packed programme of papers all Friday long. The topics were varied and interesting, and I enjoyed most of the papers very much. (With a few, I had some trouble understanding everything, since the speakers sometimes mumbled a little, but that's to be expected.)
I especially enjoyed the paper about the ovens used for cooking on the Mary Rose, which was a totally astounding contraption that I'd love to cook in. Well, maybe not really, seeing as it's for feeding about 500 people.
After the papers, there was wine, snacks and a poster session before almost all of us walked off to a conference dinner.
Saturday we were taken to St Fagan's in a bus that seated 70 persons (though the persons it was intended for were much younger than archaeologists usually are), which was a little cramped but must have looked very amusing to anyone watching the bus spit out almost 70 adults instead of the schoolchildren that its bright yellow colour would lead one to expect.
The papers at St Fagan's were as nice as those the day before, but unfortunately the weather was not. Any open air museum will look much nicer in sunshine and good weather than in fog, grey clouds and drizzling rain - but I still enjoyed having a little walk around the premises and peeping into a few of the houses.
As all conferences, this one was too short, and unfortunately I was quite tired and not up to my best networking abilities. There's always the trade-off at conferences between a programme packed full of papers*, getting much into a short time, or leaving lots of room for questions and socialising at the cost of having fewer presentations. Cardiff EAC clearly opted for a full programme which left me more exhausted than I would have wished. So somehow I have the feeling that I could have gotten more out of it - but then one never knows what will follow later. At least I did manage to deliver my talk, do a spinning presentation and meet a good number of new people, as well as catch up with old aquaintances. And hear about a number of very interesting topics!
* It should be mentioned here that all the speakers kept to their allotted time and did not overrun - which was amazing!