Award Details


Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis

Nomination/Submission Deadline: 10 Jan 2020

Award Description

This award recognizes the excellence of an archaeologist whose innovative and enduring research has made a significant impact on the discipline. This award now subsumes within it three themes presented on a cyclical basis: (1) an unrestricted or general category (first awarded in 2001); (2) lithic analysis; and (3) ceramic analysis. The 2020 Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis will be presented in the Lithics category.

Who Is Eligible to Submit Nominations or Apply for the Award

Any SAA member may nominate an individual for this award. Awardees must be members of the SAA.

Nomination/Submission Materials Required

Nominators must submit a letter that describes the nature, scope, and significance of the nominee’s research and analytical contributions, as well as the nominee’s curriculum vita. Support letters from other scholars are welcome, as are any other relevant documents. Please send submissions to the committee chair.

Other Special Requirements


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 committee solicits nominations and selects recipients for the Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis. The award is presented as special recognition of excellence by an archaeologist whose innovative research and enduring contributions have had a significant impact on the discipline. The award recipient will have mastered the difficult challenge of bridging good ideas with empirical evidence or interpretive methods within a particular class of archaeological materials or over a broad range of materials. The award was first given in 2001 and replaced the Ceramic Studies Award and the Lithic Studies Award. Since 2001, the Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis rotates among three categories: an unrestricted or general category, lithic studies, and ceramic studies.

Committee Composition

Committee composition is one chair and at least five members, all of whom are familiar with aspects of archaeological research or analysis. The committee consists of two members representing ceramic analysis, two members representing lithic analysis, and two members representing broad-based research and analysis skills. Each year two members will rotate off and new committee members will be selected. The positions will rotate among ceramics, lithics, and the unrestricted category such that the members representing a particular category will rotate off the committee the year that category is awarded. The chair will rotate among ceramics, lithics, and the unrestricted category such that, in the year is given in a specific category, the committee chair will represent that category. All members require Board approval because everyone may become chair at some point in time.

Term Length

Term length is three years, following the 3-year award cycle. Individuals ending their terms cycle off the committee at the close of the Business Meeting held during the  annual SAA Meeting, and new appointees begin their terms at this time.

Award Cycle

The award cycles through three categories (lithics [2020], ceramics [2021], general [2022],… and the cycle begins again).

Committee Chair and End of Term

David M. Carballo (lithics) [2020]

Committee Chair Contact Information

Committee Members and Ends of Terms

Daron Duke (lithics) [2020], Phillip Arnold III (ceramics) [2021], Margaret Beck (ceramics) [2021]

Selection or Evaluation Criteria

Nominees are evaluated on their demonstrated ability to successfully create an interpretive bridge between good ideas, empirical evidence, research, and analysis. January each year, and deliberate via either e-mail or telephone communication.

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

The committee will review the materials in mid-January each year, and deliberate via either e-mail or telephone communication.

2019 Jonathan Mark Kenoyer

Jonathan Mark Kenoyer has earned the SAA’s Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis for his detailed empirical analyses of a broad range of archaeological materials, guided by rigorous elemental and microscopic methods and an innovative interpretive framework grounded in experimental and ethnoarchaeological approaches. His analyses of the morphology, production techniques, and styles of a wide variety of artifacts, including stone beads, inscribed seals, shell objects, textiles and cordage, ceramics, stone tools, and copper/bronze and iron materials have generated new insights into the social dynamics of South Asia’s first urban, state-level society. His focus on the complex relationships among craft production and the social, economic, and political spheres in which it takes place provides an important method to examine the organizational dynamics of ancient states, especially when written records are unavailable. This award recognizes the significant global impact and enduring contributions of Dr. Kenoyer’s research and teaching to archaeological analysis.

Past Awardees

2018 Joseph W. Ball
2017 Steven Kuhn
2016 Barbara Voorhies
2015 Barbara J. Mills
2014 Harold Lewis Dibble
2013 Gayle Fritz
2012 James Skibo
2011 Steven Shackley
2010 Timothy A. Kohler
2009 Judith Habicht-Mauche
2008 William Andrefsky
2007 Robert L. Bettinger
2006 MichaelBrian Schiffer
2005 George H. Odell
2004 David Lewis-Williams
2003 Carol Kramer
2002 Robin Torrence
2001 George L. Cowgill

The Award for Excellence in Ceramic Studies and the Award for Excellence in Lithic Studies, both first
presented in 1994, were succeeded by the Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis in 2001.
Awardees of the Award for Excellence inCeramic Studies and the Award for Excellence in Lithic Studies
are as follows:


Owen Rye (Ceramic Studies)
Tom Hester (Lithic Studies)


Warren R. DeBoer (Ceramic Studies)
Barbara E. Luedtke (Lithic Studies)


Robert L. Rands (Ceramic Studies)
Kenneth Hirth (Lithic Studies)


Ronald Bishop and James Hill (Ceramic Studies)
None (Lithic Studies)


Dean E. Arnold (Ceramic Studies)
Jay K. Johnson (Lithic Studies)


Frederick Matson and Prudence Rice (Ceramic Studies)
Harry J. Shafer (Lithic Studies)


Patricia L. Crown and William A. Longacre (Ceramic Studies)
John Witthoft (posthumous) (Lithic Studies)