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 Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis Minimize

Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis

Current Committee Charge: The committee solicits nominations and selects recipients for the Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis. The award is presented as special recognition of excellence by an archaeologist whose innovative research and enduring contributions have had a significant impact on the discipline. The award recipient will have mastered the difficult challenge of bridging good ideas with empirical evidence or interpretive methods within a particular class of archaeological materials or over a broad range of materials. The award was first given in 2001 and replaced the Ceramic Studies Award and the Lithic Studies Award. Since 2001, the Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis rotates among three categories: an unrestricted or general category, lithic studies, and ceramic studies.

Committee Composition: Committee composition is one chair and five members, all of whom are familiar with aspects of archaeological research or analysis.  The committee consists of two members representing ceramic analysis, two members representing lithic analysis, and two members representing broad-based research and analysis skills.  Each year two members will rotate off and new committee members will be selected. The positions will rotate among ceramics, lithics, and the unrestricted category such that the members representing a particular category will rotate off the committee the year that category is awarded. The chair will rotate among ceramics, lithics, and the unrestricted category such that, in the year is given in a specific category, the committee chair will represent that category. All members require Board approval because everyone may become chair at some point in time.

Term Length: Term length is three years, following the 3-year award cycle.

Award Cycle: The award cycles through three categories (lithics [2014], ceramics [2015], and general [2016]… ).

Committee Chair and End of Term: Anna Prentiss (lithics) [2014]

Committee Chair Contact Information: Anna M. Prentiss, Department of Anthropology, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, tel: 406-243-6152, e-mail: anna.prentiss@umontana.edu

Committee Members and Ends of Terms: Susan deFrance (general) [2016], Jelmer Eerkens (general) [2016], Mary Lou Larson (lithics) [2014], Leah Minc (ceramics) [2015], Carla Sinopoli (ceramics) [2015]

Board Liaison: Suzanne K. Fish

Award Description: This award recognizes the excellence of an archaeologist whose innovative and enduring research has made a significant impact on the discipline. This award now subsumes within it three themes presented on a cyclical basis: (1) an unrestricted or general category (first awarded in 2001); (2) lithic analysis; and (3) ceramic analysis. The 2014 Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis will be presented in the LITHIC ANALYSIS category.

Who Is Eligible to Submit Nominations or Apply for Award: Any SAA member may nominate an individual for this award. Awardees must be members of the SAA.

Nomination/Submission Materials Required: Nominators must submit a letter that describes the nature, scope, and significance of the nominee’s research and analytical contributions, as well as the nominee’s curriculum vita. Support letters from other scholars are welcome, as are any other relevant documents. Please send submissions to the committee chair.

Nomination/Submission Deadline: January 4, 2014

Other Special Requirements: None

Selection or Evaluation Criteria: Nominees are evaluated on their demonstrated ability to successfully create an interpretive bridge between good ideas, empirical evidence, research, and analysis.

Committee Deliberation Process (e.g. dates, venue): The committee will review the materials in mid-January each year, and deliberate via either e-mail or telephone communication. 

Nature of Award (e.g. monetary, medal, symposium): The awardee is recognized by the SAA through a plaque presented during the business meeting held at the Annual Meeting, a citation in The SAA Archaeological Record, and acknowledgment on the awards page of the SAA Website.


2013    Gayle Fritz

Gayle Fritz has earned the SAA Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis for her lifetime commitment to furthering the theoretical frameworks and standards of analysis of paleoethnobotany in an ongoing effort to understand the origins of crop domestication in the Americas. Her work is foundational in demonstrating the theoretical interrelationships between paleoethnobotanical analyses and anthropological questions of gender, feasting, migration, and status. She was central to demonstrating that eastern North America harbored an independent center of domestication. Always with an eye on and deep respect for data, Gayle Fritz brings high and innovative standards of method and technique to her work, whether in the field or the laboratory, and has influenced multiple generations of paleoethnobotanists as both teacher and mentor. She continues to expand her own horizons through research on crop domestication in Central Asia. Gayle Fritz’s career embodies the primacy of data, centered in high level analyses, to archaeology.

2012    James Skibo

James Skibo has earned the SAA’s Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis for his life-long contributions to the field of archaeological ceramic studies. Through a combined approach relying on ethnoarchaeological and experimental research, Dr. Skibo’s many publications have provided concrete examples of how the methodological analysis of ceramics can be bridged with theory and how it can be used to address questions of broad anthropological interest. He has authored dozens of articles and an impressive ten books, including the 1992 book Pottery Function, which remains the definitive work on pottery use-alteration. The substantial impact of his work is reflected in the large numbers of citations that it has received by scholars working throughout the world. The SAA is proud to present this award to Dr. Skibo.

2011    Steven Shackley

Steven Shackley has earned the SAA’s Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis for his analytical and technical contributions using raw material sourcing in the interpretation of the social relations underlying lithic assemblage patterning. Dr. Shackley’s achievements combine outstanding scholarship in XRF analysis, geoarchaeology, archaeometry, flintknapping, and lithic technology with an anthropological perspective on a diversity of cultural processes and interactions, including quarrying, long-distance trade and exchange, ethnicity, migration, style and group identity, and gender interaction. His published work on these topics spans both cultural resource management and academic projects, and focuses on regions as diverse as the North American Southwest, Mexico, South and Central America, Ethiopia, the Middle East, and the Russian Far East, as well as temporal periods from the Middle Stone Age to Paleoamericans to the Neolithic to the ethnographic present. This award recognizes Steven Shackley’s significant role in advancing archaeological research in the field of lithic analysis.

2010    Timothy A. Kohler

2009    Judith Habicht-Mauche

2008    William Andrefsky

2007    Robert L. Bettinger

2006    Michael Brian Schiffer

2005    George H. Odell

2004    David Lewis-Williams

2003    Carol Kramer

2002    Robin Torrence

2001    George L. Cowgill

The Award for Excellence in Ceramic Studies and the Award for Excellence in Lithic Studies, both first presented in 1994, were succeeded by the Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis in 2001. Awardees of the Award for Excellence in Ceramic Studies and the Award for Excellence in Lithic Studies are as follows:

2000    Owen Rye (Ceramic Studies)

            Tom Hester (Lithic Studies)

1999    Warren R. DeBoer (Ceramic Studies)

            Barbara E. Luedtke (Lithic Studies)

1998    Robert L. Rands (Ceramic Studies)

            Kenneth Hirth (Lithic Studies)

1997    Ronald Bishop and James Hill (Ceramic Studies)

            None (Lithic Studies)

1996    Dean E. Arnold (Ceramic Studies)

            Jay K. Johnson (Lithic Studies)

1995    Frederick Matson and Prudence Rice (Ceramic Studies)

            Harry J. Shafer (Lithic Studies)

1994    Patricia L. Crown and William A. Longacre (Ceramic Studies)

            John Witthoft (posthumous) (Lithic Studies)