Belfast has been chosen to host Europe’s largest annual gathering of archaeologists.
It joins Barcelona, Istanbul and Lisbon in a strong international line-up of cities to bring up to 2,500 delegates together in one place.
The European Association of Archaeology (EAA) will reach the City in August 2022 for this major week-long event, boosting the travel, hospitality and conference economy by £3.8 million.
ICC Belfast will host the main four-day conference event, supported by other venues across the City including Queen’s University Belfast, before delegates enjoy three further full days of field trips exploring historical sites throughout the island.
Queen’s University Belfast, Visit Belfast and ICC Belfast, with funding support from Tourism Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council, secured the prestigious conference for the City.
Based in Prague, where it was founded in 1994, the EAA has 2,500 members from over 50 countries of all continents, making it the second largest archaeological association in the world. This year’s conference takes place in Bern, Switzerland, followed by Budapest in Hungary in 2020 and Kiel, Germany, in 2021.
Through its Belfast and Northern Ireland Ambassador Programme, Visit Belfast worked with Professor Eileen Murphy, Head of Archaeology and Paleoecology, School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s, to bid for the conference.
Professor Murphy welcomed the announcement, saying: “We are delighted to be welcoming archaeologists from across Europe to our wonderful City and we very much look forward to introducing them to our rich archaeological heritage. The conference organisation team has partners from archaeological and heritage organisations across the island and there is huge excitement in our sector that it is coming to Belfast.
“Archaeology and Paleoecology at Queen’s University is regularly in the Top 100 in the QS World Rankings and the conference will give us an opportunity to showcase our leading research to colleagues from throughout Europe. This will be the greatest concentration of archaeologists the City will have ever experienced, and we are in no doubt they will have a fantastic time savouring the friendly, vibrant atmosphere of Belfast.”