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Census Update

Melinda A. Zeder

If you thought filling out the 1994 SAA Census was daunting, try processing the more than 1,600 responses we received! Despite the epic nature of the task, we are bravely moving on and have noted revealing and unexpected trends emerging from the mountains of data you provided.

Census data entry was completed some time ago, and serious number crunching is well underway. Last winter we produced an eight-page document describing, in great detail, the various ways we planned to query the census data. We circulated this document quite widely and have incorporated helpful comments and suggestions from COSWA among other interested groups. We are now systematically proceeding through this query protocol and should have completed analyses relating to membership, demographics, and training and employment by early fall. This protocol calls for:

We are also examining numbers of dependents and marital status of respondents by age, gender, and region. Research interests and productivity of the broad and diverse pool of respondents are being assessed. We are cross-referencing funding history by at least four different variables. This is a huge amount of extremely interesting, complex and valuable information. We know the results will make the wait well worthwhile.

As yet, we are uncertain how to best proceed with the publication of the results. We want to get these data out to you quickly. At the same time, we want to make sure our results are as complete and as fully informed as possible. We are currently debating the merits of serializing the results by publishing summaries of various sections of the census as they become available. Alternately, we are considering waiting until the entire data query protocol is completed to publish a final and definitive summary. Whatever we decide, copies of the completed report, with all the supporting data tables, will be available to members.

Meanwhile, please rest assured that we are actively plowing through this remarkable data, and that the result of our efforts promises to provide a richly detailed profile of American archaeology. Once again, we thank you for your response to our census effort, and urge you to watch this space for future updates.

Melinda A. Zeder is with the Smithsonian Institution.


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