SAA 2014 Highlights

Austin, TX -- Scene of most recent archaeo-gathering

Austin, TX — Scene of most recent archaeo-gathering

Last week, many of our SEAC Underground contributors were in Austin for the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. To my infinite sadness, I was not among them (though, on the plus side, I got to volunteer on the Cane River Archaeological Project instead, taking advantage of the kind of perfect spring weather that I am fairly convinced only exists in the Blue Ridge Mountains). But, to my infinite gladness, archaeologists harnessed the power of social media, so I was able to follow along with some sessions from many many miles away. Thanks to everyone who tweeted away and tagged the heck out of #SAA2014, #southeastarch, and (most endearingly) #bigdirty.

Now that you’re back, anyone want to elaborate on your favorite paper/poster/session? What really stood out to you, and what do this year’s SAAs tell us about current and future directions in archaeology, especially in the Southeast? Please post in the comments!

And, if you are looking for some reading material, take a gander at Blogging Archaeology, a free e-book that debuted at an SAA session on blogging in archaeology. We at SEAC Underground will be taking a close look at this as we strategize the evolution of this blog in the coming months. Thanks to Doug Rocks-Macqueen, Chris Webster, and all the contributors for giving us so much to think about!

Blogging Archaeology e-book = rad

Blogging Archaeology e-book = rad


Images from Wikimedia Commons, Doug’s Archaeology.


6 comments on “SAA 2014 Highlights

  1. jayur says:

    Excellent presentation by Sam Munoz on the history of flooding in and around the American Bottom and its impacts on Cahokia! All around great conference, Austin is really amazing!

  2. Maureen Meyers says:

    Great panel session wanting audience participation on hypotheses as to why women in archaeology are applying for Wenner Gren and NSF funding in significantly fewer numbers than men since 2008–spearheaded by Barbara Mills and Lynne Goldstein, with an appearance by John Yellen. There is still time to get your ideas to them, as they are submitting a proposal to formally study this, and they want to interview people.

    Also a great History of Archaeology session on post-WWII archaeologists. Many SEAC greats were highlighted: Ed McMichaels, Betty Broyles, C.G. Holland, Patty Jo Watson, Stu Struever, Elaine Bluhm Herold, and James Kellar, as well as the archaeological work in Illinois at this time. Look for a publication in about 18 months.

  3. Shane says:

    I felt like there was a lot of really, really good posters this time around. I almost wonder if the quality of the papers is about the same as usual, but the quality of the posters keeps getting better and better.

    • Meg says:

      I would agree with you here! And people are experimenting with ways of making posters a bit more interactive…. iPads, sketching implements, etc. I thought that was really cool, and definitely drew me in. Any ideas out there of ways we could encourage/grow that trend?

  4. mrshlltwnmauler says:

    I lurked around some of the CRM sessions. Some of the major talking points were how academic institutions may not be preparing students for careers in CRM or whether or not they should be in the first place. Is CRM something that should be focused on in the academic institutions? Or at least discussed? Or should CRM companies expect to train people in something of an appenticeship program?

    Another point brought up many times was the lack of writing skills recent graduates possess. Who’s responsibility is it to teach writing, and where are we failing?

    I was especially struck by the forum on Ethics and CRM where discussion led to whether as a profession we are selling ourselves short by companies low-balling each other for projects to the point where the average member of the public doesn’t see us as professionals. I heard the term “licensing” mentioned many times. This is something the RPA should be exploring for those of us working outside of academia and museums.

    And of course the bloging archaeology session was excellent and well attended!

  5. Meg says:

    I was a really big fan of the “Archaeology Should Be____[Adjective/Noun/Phrase]____: A
    Cohort’s Perspective on Participation, Publics, and Paradigms” session that was put together by a bunch of Penn Alumni. I don’t always love these types of sessions because it tends to let people really get on their soapboxes, but the papers in this one were incredibly well done, well presented, and thought provoking. Someday, we should do a session like this based on us SEAC undergrounders.

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