Award Details


Distinguished Achievement in Public Archaeology Award

Nomination/Submission Deadline: 20 Dec 2023

Award Description

The Distinguished Achievement in Public Archaeology Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a strong dedication to public engagement throughout their career. This award continues the tradition begun with the Award for Excellence in Public Education (1997–2020) of recognizing exemplary public engagement efforts but refocuses on individual accomplishments, contributions, and service. Potential applicants and nominees who feel their work is eligible are encouraged to contact the committee chair by early November to solicit guidance. 

Who Is Eligible to Submit Nominations or Apply for the Award

Any member of SAA may submit a nomination file, although awardees are not required to be members of the SAA. 

Nomination/Submission Materials Required

For the Distinguished Achievement in Public Archaeology Award, nominators should submit a nomination packet that includes: 1) the Award Nomination Form ; 2) a letter of nomination outlining relevant accomplishments; 3) the CV of the nominee; and 4) any additional letters of support. Electronic submissions are encouraged and all parts should be submitted as a single pdf.

Other Special Requirements

Prior to any award recommendation being finalized and publicly announced, anyone recommended for an award, scholarship, or grant will be required to certify the following:

(a)  I am not and have not ever been the subject of a discrimination or harassment lawsuit or related administrative complaint that resulted in an adverse finding; and

(b)  I do not have and have not had a current or pending disciplinary action such as suspension or termination of registration, resulting from a Register of Professional Archaeologists’ grievance investigation.

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. 

Current Committee Charge

The Awards for Excellence in Public Education Committee solicits nominations and selects recipients for the following three awards: the Distinguished Achievement in Public Archaeology Award to be given to an individual; the Outstanding Public Archaeology Initiative Award to be awarded to a discrete project/initiative with definite start and end dates; and the Excellence in Public Archaeology Programming Award to be given to an ongoing program. These awards are designed to recognize and encourage outstanding achievements by individuals, groups, organizations, and institutions in the sharing of archaeological knowledge and issues with the public. 

Committee Composition

Committee composition is a chair and at least four members. 

Term Length

Term length is three years. Individuals ending their terms cycle off the committee at the close of the Business Meeting held during the SAA Annual Meeting, and new appointees begin their terms at this time.

Award Cycle


Committee Chair and End of Term

Sara E. Ayers-Rigsby [2027] 

Committee Chair Contact Information

Committee Members and Ends of Terms

Selection or Evaluation Criteria

Nominations are reviewed individually by members of the Awards for Excellence in Public Education Committee, and selection is based the length and breadth of public archaeology contributions. The committee reserves the right not to make an award in any given year if the nomination pool does not merit doing so.

Committee Deliberation Process (e.g. dates, venue)

After reviewing all nominations individually, committee members meet electronically and/or via telephone conference after the submission deadline has passed to select the winner.

2024 N/A
2023 A. Gwynn Henderson
2022 N/A
2021 N/A