The 2023 Annual Meeting and Workshop of the SGA/SSA took place at the Irchel Campus of University of Zurich and was kindly organized by Dr. Martin Häusler and his team.
On Friday, November 24th, 2023, the workshop titled "Ancient DNA Research in Bioarchaeology" was held at the Irchel Campus of the University of Zurich. The event commenced with an initial gathering, followed by an opening presentation from Prof. Verena Schünemann, delving into the fundamentals of aDNA research. This introduction set the stage for an engaging discussion panel focused on aDNA, featuring Prof. Albert Zink and Prof. Verena Schünemann as guests, moderated by Dr. Marcel Keller. At the previous workshop registration, participants could pose specific questions regarding aDNA, which were addressed and discussed during the symposium. The first keynote speech of the annual event was delivered by Prof. Verena Schünemann, titled "Past Pandemics and One Health: How ancient DNA can contribute to understanding the evolution of pathogens."
Moving to Saturday, November 25th, the day began with the general assembly of the SGA/SSA members. Dr. Christine Cooper was elected as the new Vice-President of the SGA/SSA, and David Roth assumed the role of secretary on the board. Following the assembly, attendees gathered for a brief coffee break. Subsequently, Prof. Albert Zink presented the narrative and the latest findings on the renowned ice mummy in his keynote speech entitled "Ötzi, the Iceman – new insights into his ancestry and phenotype."
After a "Pizza-Plausch" lunch, the day continued with eleven scientific presentations encompassing a wide range of topics. These presentations covered discussions on ongoing Swiss excavations, funeral treatments, tooth modifications, isotopic and genetic analyses, as well as forensic anthropology.
Overall, around 40 participants joined the two-day event in Zurich full of interesting discussions, talks and gatherings. The next assembly will take place in November 2024 in Geneva, on the topic of „Studies of Dental Calculus“ (Workshop) und „Interdisciplinarity in Paleodiet Research” (Symposium).
Lara Indra, Department of Anthropology, Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Bern