The CAA in Amsterdam
The CAA (Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology) 2023 was taking place in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) from the 3rd April 2023 until the 7th April 2023 and it was a wonderful experience. Some thing went pretty well, others didn’t. Let me take you with me…
The presentations and venue
So the venue was actually quiet nice. It was taking place in a congress centre in Amsterdam, the so-called RAI. It featured big rooms for the conference and a central meeting place for in-between. The presentations I have seen were also of high standard. In my personal opinion, the quality of the papers were higher than in previous CAAs I was participating. We even had nice weather, which makes everything look pretty damn good.
Unfortunately, due to this congress centre and the lack of alternatives, the conference was pretty expensive. So expensive in fact, that many of my students did decide to not come, although it is not far away from Cologne. Sessions and papers were cancelled because of this. This really sucks as I think that these conferences should especially be for younger students to network and not so much for tenured professors who do not care so much about the price.
The social events
So the conference started with some workshops on Monday and then the icebreaker party in the evening. The party was quiet nice. Many people came, there was lots of drinks and food. The atmosphere was really relaxed and I pretty much enjoyed it. These parties are great as you kind of scout who is there and who you want to connect to in the following days.
Wednesday was the conference dinner. It was a so-called walking dinner, which meant it was a bar and people were bringing finger food. The food was pretty nice I got to say and the place pretty packed. I realised that there were many people to talk to and so I did! At the end I even found a kicker table in the back, which I used to love as a student and I used to be good at. It turns out, I am not anymore, but that is ok. 🙂
Besides the conference there is of course the city. On my first day, while waiting for my hotel room, I made an ArchaeoTrail tour through medieval Amsterdam that was provided by the organisers. The tour was pretty nice, although I had a hard time finding everything right away. But with some patience it worked quiet well. I also explored Amsterdam on my own and have to say it is a really beautiful city. Except two things, Amsterdam is really relaxed. The only unrelaxing things I encountered where drunken tourists and the famous bicycles. Dutch people really ride their bikes and you have to be very careful not to get killed. I was told this is normal though.
This years CAA again showed me how great conferences can be. The next CAA 2024 will be held in Auckland and I fear I won’t make it so far. But I also appreciate that the CAA is taken place outside of Europe, so others have the means to connect. Let’s wait and see who is hosting CAA 2025, if possible, I will come.