Contributed by Emma Lavoie
Around this time, we post a blog about our visit to the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). The meeting was held March 29th – April 2nd, 2023 in Portland, Oregon, at the Oregon Convention Center.
The SAA Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of archaeologists of the Americas, attracting thousands of archaeologists each year from around the world (over 45 countries!) This conference offers archaeologists the ability to present and share research, network and explore the exhibit hall, and participate in excursions, receptions, and career development opportunities.
The Society for American Archaeology was founded in 1934 and held its first meeting at Phillips Academy Andover (That’s right! The very campus the Peabody calls home) in December 1935. Longtime Peabody Director, Doug Byers, served as the editor of the Society’s flagship publication – American Antiquity. Past Peabody Director, Richard “Scotty” MacNeish, served as president of SAA at one time as well.
Today, the SAA is comprised of over 7,000 members and our Peabody staff and Peabody Advisory Committee (PAC) continue to be involved with SAA. Peabody personnel regularly present papers and posters in meeting sessions, host a booth in the meeting’s exhibit hall, and sponsor the Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology Award for Archaeology and Education.
For more on the Peabody’s previous visits to the SAA Annual Meeting check out our blogs here, here, and here!
Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology Award for Archaeology and Education
The Robert S. Peabody Institute Award for Archaeology and Education recognizes excellence of individuals or institutions in using archaeological methods, theory, and/or data to enliven, enrich, and enhance other disciplines, and to foster the community of archaeology education practitioners. The Peabody Award will spotlight these contributions and promote teaching ideas, exercises, activities, and methods across the educational spectrum, from K-12 through higher education and including public education broadly conceived.
This year’s recipient of the Peabody Award is Pima Community College Centre for Archaeological Field Training. Pima Community College Centre for Archaeological Field Training has earned the Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology Award for Archaeology and Education for their long-term commitment to archaeology education. Through the Pima Community College Archaeology Centre’s certificate program, which includes a Southwest Prehistory pathway, a field Methods pathway, and a GIS and Technology pathway, students learn the fundamentals of archaeological methods, ethics, and technology while attending community college and earning a certificate at affordable rates. Pima Community College’s programs provide an important career pathway for prospective archaeologists in a time when there are increasing demands for CRM professionals. Importantly, the program provides a career pathway for local students that does not require a four-year university education. PCC’s Archaeology Program, and the unique educational services it provides, exemplify what should be replicated across the country to provide affordable, equitable, and accessible education to students thinking about careers in archaeology.
Outstanding Public Archaeology Initiative Award
The Outstanding Public Archaeology Initiative Award continues the tradition begun by the Award for Excellence in Public Education (1997-2020) of recognizing exemplary public engagement efforts but refocuses on discrete projects (defined as a project with a clear start and end date). This award recognizes the best short-term initiatives such as (but not limited to) the following: exhibits, lesson plans, products, or other short-term outreach projects.
This year’s recipient was none other than The Massachusetts Archaeological Society (MAS) and the Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology (RSP)! The Massachusetts Archaeological Society and the Robert S. Peabody Institute have earned the Outstanding Public Archaeology Initiative Award for their live presentation and video series “Diggin’ In: Digital Conversations with Archaeologists.” The series consisted of five seasons, with 49 total episodes. These were broadcast live over Zoom reaching an initial audience of 350 over Zoom for the live program, then 7,000 views on YouTube. The program’s goals were to connect the public to research by emerging or underrepresented scholars in archaeology and spotlight innovative or marginalized research topics, themes, and methodologies. The focus of “Diggin’ In” on these critical aspects of archaeology helped to generate media coverage of these themes. This initiative demonstrates the critical role archaeologists can play in communicating contemporary themes in archaeology to the public.
For more information about the Diggin’ In series, check out this article for the New England Museum Association’s digital publication. The article was written by Diggin’ In co-hosts and creators, Lindsay Randall (previous Curator of Education for the Peabody and current MAS Vice Chair/Secretary) and Suanna Crowley (MAS Trustee).
You can check out all seasons of the Diggin’ In series on our Peabody YouTube page!
For those interested in attending the SAA’s annual meetings, the 89th Annual Meeting will be held April 17 – April 21, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the New Orleans Marriott and the Sheraton New Orleans. We hope to see you there next year!