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Student Paper Award

Current Committee Charge: The committee solicits nominations and selects recipients for the Student Paper Award. The award is presented to recognize the best student paper presented at the SAA annual meeting.

Committee Composition: Committee composition is one chair and five members.

Term Length: Term length is three years.

Award Cycle: Not applicable.

Committee Chair and End of Term: Lynn Fisher [2015]

Committee Chair Contact Information: Lynn Fisher, Department of Sociology/Anthropology, University of Illinois Springfield, 1 University Plaza, MS UHB 3038, Springfield, IL 62703, tel: 217-206-7938, e-mail: lfish1@uis.edu

Committee Members and Ends of Terms: Christine Beaule [2014], Destiny Crider [2014], Eric Jones [2014], Benjamin Porter [2015], Sonja Schwake [2015]

Board Liaison: Suzanne K. Fish

Award Description: This award recognizes an outstanding student conference paper based on original research.

Who Is Eligible to Submit Nominations or Apply for the Award: All student members of SAA in good standing whose paper abstract has been accepted by the SAA for the upcoming annual meeting are eligible to participate. All co-authors must be students, and the first author must be a member of the SAA. All co-authors share the award.


Nomination/Submission Materials Required: The paper abstract must be accepted by SAA for the upcoming annual meeting. All co-authors must be students, and the first author must be a member of the SAA. The paper must be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and 12-pt font. Please do not submit raw data unless they are to be presented as part of the paper itself. An average 15-minute paper is approximately 8 pages long (double-spaced, not including references cited). Any paper longer than this will be docked points.

The student must submit electronic copies of 1) a separate title page with name and full contact information; 2) the conference paper containing slide call outs and references; and 3) pdfs of all PowerPoint slides, with numbered captions, to be used in the oral presentation. Please DO NOT put your name anywhere besides the cover sheet so that your paper may be reviewed anonymously by the committee. Please send submissions to the committee chair.

The student must have a faculty or supervisory sponsor review the paper before the student submits it to the Student Paper Award Committee. The faculty/supervisory sponsor must send an email to the submission address at the time of paper submission saying that he/she has read and approved the paper being submitted.

 Nomination/Submission Deadline: March 15, 2014

Other Special Requirements: None

Selection or Evaluation Criteria: Committee members evaluate papers anonymously, scoring them on the 1) quality of the arguments presented, 2) quality of supporting data, 3) contribution to broader methodological or theoretical issues in archaeology, 4) contribution to understanding a specific region or topic, 5) quality of writing, paper structure and length, and 6) quality, appropriateness and number of graphics for a 15-minute oral presentation.

Committee Deliberation Process (e.g. dates, venue): The committee meets electronically after the submission deadline has passed.

Nature of Award (e.g. monetary, medal, symposium): The award winner or winners receives more than $1000 worth of books and other prizes. In addition, the awardee(s) are 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. All co-authors will receive the award.

2014 Sponsors of the Student Paper Award: Antiquity, Archaeological Institute of America, Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association, Center for Digital Archaeology – UC Berkeley, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, Elsevier B.V., Forestry Suppliers, Inc., Harvard University Press, International Association for Obsidian Studies, National Geographic Society, Oxford University Press, Routledge, Rowman & Littlefield, Society for Historical Archaeology, Springer, The University of Arizona Press, The University of Utah Press, University of Oklahoma Press, University of Pittsburgh Center for Comparative Archaeology, University of Texas Press, University Press of Colorado, and University Press of Florida

Helpful Links

• Student Paper Award Committee Scoring Matrix


• How to Win the Student Paper Award and Impress a Conference Audience. The SAA Archaeological Record (2009) 9(5):8-9.


• Putting the Power Back in PowerPoint: A Guide for Student (and Non-Student) Presenters. The SAA Archaeological Record (2011) 11(5):11-13.


• Before You Create a PowerPoint Presentation


• Presenting with PowerPoint: 10 Dos and Don'ts


• Creating a Professional Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation




Bryn Letham (University of British Columbia) and David Bilton (University of Toronto) “Settlement and Subsistence among the shíshálh of the Northern Salish Sea”

This year’s SAA Student Paper Award has been presented to Bryn Letham of the University of British Columbia and David Bilton of the University of Toronto for their co-authored paper “Settlement and Subsistence among the shíshálh of the Northern Salish Sea.” Letham and Bilton’s thoughtful examination of traditions of practice among the shíshálh First Nation on the southwest coast of British Columbia suggest that there is notable continuity with regard to settlement and subsistence in the shíshálh landscape. The authors convincingly argue that a combination of tradition, practice, human political action, and aspects of the landscape and its resources contributed to long-term stability observed in the archaeological record of the shíshálh territory.


Sean B. Dunham  “Late Woodland Landscapes in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan”

This year’s SAA Student Paper Award is presented to Sean B. Dunham of Michigan State University for his paper “Late Woodland Landscapes in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan.” Dunham’s thoughtful examination of the relationship between people and their physical environment in the Great Lakes challenges the assertion that Native Americans lived in a “pristine wilderness” in the era prior to European colonization and suggests that Late Woodland peoples actively shaped their environment. He specifically employs General Land Office surveys, habitat information, and site distribution to reveal evidence for anthropogenic modification of the landscape in the Late Woodland. His conclusion that human agency in the form of dynamic subsistence practices and conscious habitat maintenance characterizes the Late Woodland has significant implications for landscape studies in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and throughout the Eastern Woodlands.


Melanie Beasley, Jack Meyer, Eric J. Bartelink, and Randy Miller “Human Bone Diagenesis in a Prehistoric Burial Mound from the Central California Delta: Bioarchaeological and Geoarchaeological Approaches”

Through their well-written and argued paper titled “Human Bone Diagenesis in a Prehistoric Burial Mound from the Central California Delta: Bioarchaeological and Geoarchaeological Approaches,” Melanie Beasley, Jack Meyer, Eric J. Bartelink, and Randy Miller contribute to both site-specific and potentially discipline-wide archaeological investigations. Using real world examples, they demonstrate the utility of geoarchaeology for selecting viable samples of human bone for stable isotope analysis. As they state explicitly, their methods are useful not just for understanding cultural and geological histories of individual sites; they also enable archaeologists to make the most of limited funding and field time, and to select only the most information-rich human bones for invasive analyses.

2010    John M. Marston (Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California at Los Angeles) • “Identifying Agricultural Risk Management Using Paleoethnobotanical Remains”

2009    Michael Mathiowetz (University of California at Riverside) “The Son of God Who is in the Sun: Political Authority and the Personified Sun God in Ancient West and Northwest Mexico”

2008    David Anderson (Tulane University) “Xtobo and the Emergent Preclassic of Northwest Yucatan, Mexico”

2007    Scott Ortman (Arizona State University) "Population Biology of the Four Corners to Rio Grande Migration"

2006    Metin I. Eren (Southern Methodist University) and Mary E. Prendergast (Harvard University) “The Reduction Rumble! A Comparison of Reduction Values, Means, and Ranges”

2005    Elizabeth Horton with Christina Rieth (Washington State University) “Style, Function and Ceramic Manufacture: A Case Study from Central New York”

2004    Briana L. Popiner and David R. Braun (Rutgers University) “Strengthening the Inferential Link between Cutmark Frequency Data and Oldowan Hominid Behavior: Results from Modern Butchery Experiments”

2003    Devin Alan White (University of Colorado at Boulder) “Hyperspectral Remote Sensing in Southern Arizona”

2002    Christopher Morehart (Florida State University) “A Paleoethnobotanical Perspective in Ancient Maya Cave Utilization”

2000    Nathan S. Lowrey with Thomas C. Plege (American University) “Landscapes of Contention: Socioeconomic Intensification and the Rise of Communalism among the Late Woodland and Effigy Mound Cultures”