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 Gene S. Stuart Award Minimize

Gene S. Stuart Award

Current Committee Charge: The committee solicits nominations and selects recipients for the Gene S. Stuart Award.  The award is presented in recognition of outstanding efforts to enhance public understanding of archaeology.

Committee Composition: Committee composition is one chair, at least one member, one SAA staff liaison, and the chair of the Media Relations Committee. This committee is a subcommittee of the Media Relations Committee. Appointments are made by the chair of the Media Relations Committee from among the full committee's members, and require no action by the SAA President or Board.

Term Length: Term length is three years.

Award Cycle: Not applicable.

Committee Chair and End of Term: Kirk D. French [2017]

Committee Chair Contact Information: Kirk D. French, Department of Anthropology, 120 Carpenter Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, tel: 814-865-1142, e-mail: kirkdfrench@psu.edu

Committee Members and Ends of Terms:  Jeff Emanuel [2015], Angela Keller [2015], Zachary Nelson [2015], Alyssa Barnett [SAA Staff Liason]    , A'ndrea Messer [SAA Media Relations Committee Chair]

Board Liaison: Suzanne K. Fish

Award Description: An award of $2,000 is made to honor outstanding efforts to enhance public understanding of archaeology, in memory of Gene S. Stuart (1930-1993), a writer and managing editor of National Geographic Society books. The award is given to the author of the most interesting and responsible original story or series about any archaeological topic published in a newspaper or magazine.

Who Is Eligible to Apply or Submit Nominations: The award is given to single or multiple authored articles, stories, or series of stories published in newspapers or magazines. The emphasis is on publications available to the general public (rather than limited distribution newsletters), and online publications are not excluded. The award honors good writing that brings awareness of archaeology to the public eye. Nominations can be submitted by authors themselves, by magazine/newspaper editors, or by readers. Authors or newspaper editors will work with the committee chair to assemble and submit a nomination file. Awardees may be members or non-members of the SAA.

Nomination/Submission Materials Required: Nominators will work with the committee chair to assemble a nomination file that will include the nominated article, which should have been published within the calendar year of 2013. An author/newspaper editor may submit no more than five stories or five articles from a series. Nomination packets may be submitted electronically as PDFs via email to the committee chair. If submitting hard copies, six copies of each entry must be submitted by the author or an editor of the newspaper.

Nomination/Submission Deadline: January 10, 2014

Other Special Requirements: None

Selection or Evaluation Criteria: The Gene S. Stuart Award is given to the author of the most interesting and responsible original story/series about any archaeological topic published in a newspaper or magazine. The story/series should adhere to the guidelines of the Principles of Archaeological Ethics as outlined by the Society for American Archaeology.

Committee Deliberation Process (e.g. dates, venue): After award requirements and deadline information are distributed to journalists and editors via the SAA web and by the Media Relations Committee, the committee chair collects submissions up to the submission deadline, and sends the submissions to the award committee members. The committee chair communicates electronically evaluation procedures and deadlines to committee members. The committee meets electronically to evaluate submissions after the deadline has passed. The committee members evaluate submissions, rank them, and explain their rationale for their rankings. Based on the recommendations of the chair, the committee members and the ex officio journalist member, the chair makes the decision as to who gets the award.

Nature of Award (e.g. monetary, medal, symposium): The awardee receives $2,000. In addition, 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.


2013    Julian Smith (American Archaeology)

Julian Smith, an award-winning author and writer for American Archaeology, has  earned the 2013 Gene S. Stuart Award for his responsible and entertaining writing about the fascinating capabilities and inherent problems associated with virtual archaeology. “Virtually Recreating the

Past” presents an ethically responsible and engaging view on the new methods being utilized in archaeology and the diverse ways by which both professionals and the public can use and benefit

from the technology. His article describes many different virtual methods, including the use of 3D modeling on traditional sod houses in the Canadian arctic, an interactive educational game based on a Russian fur-trading outpost on the Northern California coast, and laser scanning of buildings at the Maya site of Copan. Julian Smith has delivered to the public a well-balanced article detailing the possibilities and benefits of virtual archaeology that all archaeologists can respect.

2012    Mike Toner (American Archaeology)

Mike Toner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and writer for American Archaeology, has earned the 2012 Gene S. Stuart Award for his responsible and entertaining writing about the inherent problems associated with shipwreck and underwater archaeology. “The Battle for the Dunkirk Schooner” presents an ethically responsible and engaging view on the issues of antiquity ownership and the dangers of raising a shipwreck. His article describes an early 19th century schooner that lies at the bottom of Lake Erie, and explores the legal issues that have arisen between a private salvage firm and the state of New York, both claiming rights to the wreck. Mike Toner has brought an archaeological find and preservation issues to the attention of the public in a way all archaeologists can be proud of. This is Mr. Toner’s second Gene S. Stuart Award.

2011    Dan Vergano (USA Today)

Dan Vergano, an award-winning science reporter for the national daily newspaper USA TODAY, has earned the 2011 Gene S. Stuart Award for his interesting, thoughtful, and authoritative writing about problem-oriented archaeological research in the Puuc region of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. “So long, said the Maya” and its online version present the reader with a no-nonsense yet engaging view of important research questions explored from the perspective of the Kiuic site in the Yucatan. Vergano blends his astute reporting with the authority of individual archaeological investigators and their assessment of archaeological evidence to involve the reader in exploring rapid abandonments of some Maya sites. His discussion of archaeological evidence in the contexts of time, physical and social environments, and culture enable the reader to connect the analysis of the site with the complex processes of change in the Yucatan and elsewhere.

2010    Andrea Cooper (Free Lance)

2009    Andrew Lawler (Science Magazine)

2008    Tom Avril (Philadelphia Enquirer)

2007    Richard L. Hill (The Oregonian)

2006    Andrew Petkofsky

2005    Marion Lloyd

2004    Alexandra Witze

2003    None

2002    Chip Minty

2001    Mike Toner (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

2000    Frank Roylance (Baltimore Sun)

1999    William Mullen (Chicago Tribune)

1998    Diedtra Henderson (Seattle Times)

1997    None

1996    Matt Crenson (Dallas Morning News)

1995    Nathan Seppa (Wisconsin State Journal)

1994    Scott LaFee (San Diego Union-Tribune)