The main theme of this year's Rencontre Assyriologique International was "The Intellectual Heritage of the Ancient Near East", and while a row of papers addressed that issue, many presentations tackled other topics as well, as it is usual for a Rencontre. This year's venue provided participants with stunning vistas, and many took the chance of not spending the entire day at the conference, but rather to explore the mountains and enjoy the beautiful historic inner city.
The conference itself was very diverse, but due to a program that featured up to seven parallel sessions per day it was difficult to see all the lectures one was interested in. Still, I could enjoy many very good presentation, including promising new research projects undertaken by current PhD students. My own talk on the "Underworld Vision of an Assyrian Prince" was well received, and I am glad for all the comments and remarks I received.
One major aspect of the Rencontre is networking, and meeting new people. Since the assyriological community is relatively small, a familiar feeling is quickly established, and having the opportunity to informally hang out together during the receptions is one of the key components of the conference. Besides that, meeting your old friends and colleagues during the Rencontre is just wonderful.
In sum, it was a beautiful and invigorating event, and I am already looking forward to next year's Rencontre in Paris.