2021 Submission Guidelines

These guidelines include the following procedures and policies. The only means of submission is via the SAA Submissions Portal. If you have any questions regarding the submissions process, policies, or forms, please contact the SAA headquarters at +1 (202) 559-7382 or +1 (202) 559-5881, or e-mail meetings@saa.org.

COVID-19 Information

Although the SAA is proceeding with planning for an in-person Annual Meeting in 2021 in San Francisco, the Board fully recognizes that much is unknown and uncertain at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board is considering a range of scenarios. Of paramount importance is the safety and health of SAA members, staff, and meeting attendees; these concerns will guide decisions about the Annual Meeting and other SAA activities. The city of San Francisco and the state of California are developing COVID-19 reopening guidelines and policies, which they will adjust as conditions change. The SAA is looking for this guidance and is in communication with the meeting hotel to provide a meeting that protects attendee health.

Virtual Components

The SAA Board has created a task force “to explore a virtual component or components of the Annual Meeting, to include the variety of options available, the costs of such options, and the implications of such options on SAA revenue.” Kayeleigh Sharp (SIU) and Paul Welch (SIU) chair the task force, and it also includes Elise Laugier (Dartmouth), Erik Otárola-Castillo (Purdue), and Jesse Wolfhagen (MPISHH). The task force will consider a full range of options. If you participated in the recent surveys from the SAA Task Force on Virtual Meeting Components, we thank you very kindly. With your input, the task force is concluding its investigation into the range of options available. Regardless of the coronavirus situation in San Francisco this spring, we are confident that nearly all events normally on the schedule at the annual meeting can proceed in some form, with little or no disruption. There are issues yet to be dealt with, but the question now is not whether the meeting can proceed but what software platforms will be used and how the online content will be structured. Responses from the surveys have helped clarify members’ concerns and have provided useful advice about other conferences that have gone online. We know that meeting costs are a major concern for all members, and the task force is compiling information on virtual cost options that will allow SAA to make the meeting as accessible as possible. Members who are wondering if they should submit abstracts for the meeting can be confident that their time and effort in preparing submissions to the meeting program will not be wasted. We encourage you to submit your abstract, knowing that a final decision about its form of delivery (on-line, in person, or hybrid) will be made by the Board after it has had time to review member responses to the surveys and the task force report, which are due to the board on September 1.

General Information


All submissions, both session and individual, must be completed by Thursday, September 17, 2020, 3pm Eastern Time. The submissions system will shut down at that time. Staff will be available to assist prior to 3pm. As all submissions will be made via the submissions system, there is no grace period nor are there any late fees. There is no flexibility to the deadline.  

The web allows you to make changes until the submissions deadline. Once the submissions deadline passes, no edits may be made.

Evaluation Process

After the deadline, the Program Committee will begin evaluating each submission for substance of contribution. After reviewing a submission, the Program Committee may recommend changes. Any such recommendations are based on the nature of the material to be presented, including possible ethical issues or sensitivities, and do not reflect a low ranking by the committee. The Program Committee may request that individual papers or an entire session be converted to poster format.

The Program Committee’s decision to accept or decline the submission will be e-mailed to individual contributors and chairs of symposia, forums, and poster sessions by December 6, 2020.

Please note that a submission approved by the Program Committee may be  later modified or cancelled by the Society for any reason upon written notice to the member.


Submissions (and presentations) may be made in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French. Abstracts will be published in the language in which they are submitted. For those authors who also wish to publish an English translation of their abstracts, please e-mail the English translation to meetings@saa.org.

Submission Policies

Registration Requirement

All presenters, chairs, moderators, and discussants are required to pay the established registration fee for the Annual Meeting before the submissions deadline. This fee does not include SAA membership dues.

For participants who prefer not to pay using the web-based payment system, there is an option to print a summary form and mail your payment to SAA. Payments must be received and processed before a session or individual paper is eligible to submit for review.

The Society reserves the right to modify or cancel any submission at any time upon written notice to the member.

Membership Requirement

It is a privilege of membership to be a participant in the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Participants in SAA’s 2021 Annual Meeting must hold a 2021 membership in the Society.


Nonmembers must join SAA membership between August 1 and no later than November 15. To join, use the same login and password created to access the meeting submission module. Should a submission from a current nonmember be rejected by the Program Committee, that individual can receive a full refund of the membership fee.

Current members:

Current Members must renew by the close of the grace period on January 30, 2021. SAA does not begin accepting payments for the following year until after August 1. If you do not renew your membership by the close of the grace period on January 30, 2021, the Board of Directors will reject the pending submission.

If the Board rejects a submission for noncompliance with the membership requirement, ethics requirement or for any other reason, that action would supersede any action from the Program Committee. Should a submission be rejected by the Board of Directors for noncompliance with the membership requirement by the stated deadlines (November 15, 2020, for nonmembers to join and January 30, 2021, for current members to renew), the registration fee will be refunded minus a $25 processing fee.

An individual who is invited to participate in an organized session  (as a presenter or discussant) at the Annual Meeting in order to present information for the benefit of SAA members and who is neither an archaeologist nor a professional in a field whose members would normally belong to the SAA may have the membership requirement waived for one annual meeting. The participants registration fee should also be reduced to the member rate in the submissions portal; in rare instances, and only for the most compelling reasons, the registration fee may be waived entirely.

Waiver requests must be submitted by the session chair via the submissions portal. Session chairs must provide the profession of those individuals for whom a membership waiver is being requested. No one trained in archaeology, archaeologists, nor archaeology students are eligible for waivers at any time.

If the chair was unable to submit the membership waiver via the submissions portal, please submit the waiver request using this form by November 1st, 2020.

Decisions under this policy will be made by the Executive Director.

SAA Principles of Archaeological Ethics

All presenters, chairs, moderators, and discussants are required to read and check the checkbox on the Abstract Submission page, which, among other things, certifies that the proposed submission conforms to the SAA Principles of Archaeological Ethics. All submissions must uphold the SAA Principles of Archaeological Ethics.

Meeting Safety Policy and Code of Conduct

Everyone is entitled to a safe and harassment-free experience when participating in SAA activities. The SAA understands that participation at its events is an important part of career development and affirms the values of respect, equity, multicultural pluralism, and nondiscrimination at these gatherings. Harassment harms the individual. Harassment also damages the SAA community by discouraging participation in SAA events and compromising the exchange of ideas that is at the center of the SAA’s mission to promote and stimulate interest and research in the archaeology of the Americas and beyond.

Because of the importance of the meeting to career development and concerns at the Society about inclusion of marginalized groups in the Society’s events, the SAA has elected in this Policy to give priority to survivors of harassment and assault and to ensure their ability to participate freely in SAA events.

Meeting participants are required to follow the Code of Conduct and the SAA Meeting Safety Policy.


Registration fees for presenters who elect to withdraw from the program will be refunded by the SAA office—minus a $25 processing fee—upon receipt of e-mailed or written request (no verbal requests, please) postmarked by December 1, 2020.


  • April 15, 2020

    Submission System Opens

  • September 17, 2020

    Submission Deadline 3PM EDT

  • November 10, 2020

    Meeting Payment Confirmations Sent

  • November 15, 2020

    Membership Join Deadline for Nonmember Participants

  • December 01, 2020

    Withdrawal Deadline

  • December 06, 2020

    Participation Decision Letters from Program Committee

  • January 14, 2021

    Participation in the SAA 86th Annual Meeting Online confirmed

  • January 14, 2021

    Last date to get a full refund for withdrawing from program

  • January 28, 2021

    Program replacements submissions due

  • January 30, 2021

    Membership Renewal Deadline for Current Member Participants

  • March 10, 2021

    Advance registration closes

  • March 10, 2021

    Last date to get a refund for program participants (minus $25 processing fee)

  • March 26, 2021

    Last day for posters to be uploaded and for symposiums and general sessions to be recorded

  • April 02, 2021

    New Member Attendee orientations

  • April 05, 2021

    New Member Attendee orientations