The European Association of Archaeologists is a membership-based, not-for-profit association which is open to all archaeologists and other related or interested individuals or bodies. It is fully democratic, and is governed by an Executive Board elected by full members of the Association. A Nomination Committee ensures that the Board is representative of the different regions of Europe and the different sectors of the profession. Its membership covers most European countries, but also includes residents of all other continents interested in European Archaeology.
The EAA was established in 1994 at an Inaugural Meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where its Statutes were formally approved. These stipulate that the EAA was created:
- to promote the development of archaeological research and the exchange of archaeological information
- to promote the management and interpretation of the European archaeological heritage
- to promote proper ethical and scientific standards for archaeological work
- to promote the interests of professional archaeologists in Europe
- to promote co-operation with other organisations with similar aims
The EAA has held Annual Meetings since the first conference in 1994; sessions cover topics varying from the interpretation of material culture through theoretical perspectives to cultural heritage management. These conferences have been held in a range of different European cities: Santiago de Compostela, Spain (1995); Riga, Latvia (1996); Ravenna, Italy (1997); Göteborg, Sweden (1998); Bournemouth, UK (1999); Lisbon, Portugal (2000), Esslingen am Neckar, Germany (2001), Thessaloniki, Greece (2002), St. Petersburg, Russia (2003), Lyon, France (2004), Cork, Ireland (2005), Cracow, Poland (2006), Zadar, Croatia (2007), Valletta, Malta (2008), Riva del Garda, Italy (2009), The Hague, Netherlands (2010), Oslo, Norway (2011), Helsinki, Finland (2012) and Pilsen, Czech Republic (2013).
The EAA has published a journal since 1993: originally the Journal of European Archaeology 1993 – 1997, it was relaunched in 1998 as the European Journal of Archaeology (EJA). It also publishes an electronic newsletter, The European Archaeologist (TEA).
Since 1999 the Association has awarded the annual European Archaeological Heritage Prize to an individual, institution, or to a local or regional government for an outstanding contribution to the protection and presentation of the European archaeological heritage. The Association creates Working Parties for a limited period in order to achieve a particular result (formulate policy, develop a standard, create an inventory etc.), while Committees are established where an issue is considered to be of permanent concern to the EAA. EAA Committees include the Committee on the Trade in Cultural Material.
The Association promotes ethical professional behaviour through its Code of Practice, Principles of Conduct for Contract Archaeology and Code of Practice for Fieldwork Training. The EAA acts as an advisory body on all issues relating to the archaeology of Europe, and is affiliated to major institutions active in cultural heritage protection and management. In 1999, the EAA was granted consultative status with the Council of Europe, which in 2003 was upgraded to participatory status.