The NEOMATRIX kick-off meeting was held virtually on the 17th and 18th of February, 2021, with approximately 60 participants. In her opening speech Eva-Maria Geigl explained how the project was conceived, where she made a homage to the late Dimitris Kafetzopoulos, FORTH’s PI for NEOMATRIX and one of the visionaries behind NEOMATRIX. Next, the PIs of each partner took the stage to introduce their institutions and their fellow researchers, together with their backgrounds and research interests.
The second day of the meeting comprised three sessions, the first one being dedicated to archaeology presentations. Çiğdem Atakuman from METU gave a presentation titled “The Neolithisation of Anatolia: Issues and Prospects”, Argyro Nafplioti from FORTH gave a presentation titled “The Neolithisation of Greece”, Michael Ilett invited by CNRS gave a presentation titled “The Neolithic of France and the Western Mediterranean”, and Jan Storå from SU gave a presentation titled “Neolithization in the North – Scandinavia and the Baltic area”. In the following session, Dilek Koptekin from METU and Pavlos Pavlidis from FORTH gave a presentation on the “Paleogenomics of East Mediterranean humans”, while Eva-Maria Geigl from CNRS gave two presentations: “Paleogenomics of the Neolithic of Central and Western Europe” and “Paleogenomics of Neolithic animals”. The final session of the Kick-off Meeting was devoted to the presentations of the six NEOMATRIX working teams, which were formed to enable virtual collaboration amid the pandemic. The team representatives specified their working plan, possible work directions and goals.
The kick-off meeting mainly aimed to familiarize project counterparts with each other and with the different facets of the scientific question at the core of NEOMATRIX. A lot of information exchange and brainstorming took place even at this first encounter, promising a fruitful future for our project!