Foreword. Dare to Choose — Making Choices in Archaeological Heritage Management

Leonard de Wit

President, Europae Archaeologiae Consilium

Cite this as: de Wit, L. 2018 Foreword. Dare to Choose — Making Choices in Archaeological Heritage Management, Internet Archaeology 49.

In the Amersfoort Agenda — a call to action for Europe's archaeology — the subject of 'decision-making' (Dare to Choose) was identified as one of the three key themes in meeting the current challenges facing archaeological heritage management in Europe. It is only logical that as an offshoot of this agenda, EAC dedicated an annual symposium to the theme of making choices. I would very much like to thank EAC board member Ann Degraeve, who took up the scientific coordination of the symposium and this publication. It needs a lot of hard work and stamina to put in this effort besides a busy job as head of the Archaeological Department of the Brussels region. Chapeau!

As the symposium was held in Athens, I am very much tempted to take a philosophical angle on the 'making choices' discussion. Many conceive the concept of 'free will' to be the capacity to make choices in which the outcome has not been determined by past events. Others suggest that only one course of events is possible, which is inconsistent with the existence of free will thus conceived. This topical problem has already been identified in ancient times. The topic of determinism and freedom lies at the very heart of Stoic philosophy in that it provides an essential link between its three basic parts: ethics, physics, and logic. The study of the Stoic position on determinism and freedom thus leads to a more profound understanding of the interconnection between these three areas. All are relevant to our modern discussions on making choices. Of course the focus of the Athens symposium and this publication is not so much on philosophy, but it is good to notice that we are standing in a still relevant and lively tradition, which started with Zeno of Citium walking and talking through the Stoa colonnade — itsef being a feature that has been reconstructed based on the thorough work of archaeologists, making lots of choices along the way.