Award Details


Binford Family Award for Teaching Scientific Reasoning in Archaeology (Deadline Extended)

Nomination/Submission Deadline: 05 Jan 2024

Award Description

The Binford Family Award for Teaching Scientific Reasoning in Archaeology encourages curriculum development with a deliberate focus on teaching critical thinking and scientific reasoning skills in archaeology courses at any level, to reward individuals or institutions that develop excellent examples of such curricula, and to promote the sharing of ideas and materials relating to these efforts. For 2024, the Binford Award has a monetary award of $2,000. 

Who Is Eligible to Submit Nominations or Apply for the Award

Anyone may submit a nomination, including a self-nomination. Nominees may be members or nonmembers of the SAA. An appropriate nominee would be an educator, for example, a K-12 teacher, a museum curator, graduate student, or faculty member; eligible institutional nominees include college or university departments, museum education programs, archaeology centers, non-profit organizations, CRM companies, and Indigenous groups or their programs. 

Nomination/Submission Materials Required

Nominators should submit the following: 1. nominee’s current Curriculum Vitae and/or a succinct summary of relevant accomplishments, 2. a letter of nomination, and 3. at least two additional letters of support from those familiar with the nominee’s achievements. Nominations for programs or institutions should include details about the program, point of contact and contact information, as well as two additional letters of support. Nominators should use the Award Nomination Form as a cover sheet.

Useful information for 2. Nomination letters. These should document the development of courses and/or programs that encourage critical thinking and scientific reasoning in archaeological pedagogy. Documentation can include teaching awards or recognition; syllabi and lesson plans; course materials; program descriptions; websites; blogs; podcasts; videos; newspaper or magazine stories; books, articles or book chapters; and student testimonials. Documentation materials should specifically relate to the nominee’s work in critical thinking and scientific reasoning in archaeological pedagogy. Student work that may be considered confidential or other sensitive or proprietary information should not be submitted. Materials such as syllabi or lesson plans that can be shared with the broader community via SAA’s website are particularly important for nomination documentation.

Useful information for 3.The two recommendation letters (beyond the nomination cover letter) from those familiar with the nominee’s accomplishments in teaching and program development. Recommendation letters from diverse individuals familiar with the nominee’s outstanding work are encouraged, for example, a peer; department chair or administrator; current or former student; and/or the officer of a professional organization. If the nominee is an institution, the recommendation letters ideally should be from individuals from outside that same institution.

All nomination materials should be assembled by the nominator as an entire package and submitted electronically to the committee chair by the due date.

Other Special Requirements

Prior to any award recommendation being finalized and publicly announced, anyone recommended for an award, scholarship, or grant will be required to certify the following:

(a)  I am not and have not ever been the subject of a discrimination or harassment lawsuit or related administrative complaint that resulted in an adverse finding; and

(b)  I do not have and have not had a current or pending disciplinary action such as suspension or termination of registration, resulting from a Register of Professional Archaeologists’ grievance investigation.

Nature of Award (e.g. monetary, medal, symposium)

The awardee is recognized by the SAA through a monetary award of $2,000, a certificate 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 Teaching Awards Committee solicits nominations and selects recipients for the Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology Award for Archaeology and Education and the Binford Family Award for Teaching Scientific Reasoning in Archaeology. Both awards exist only as long as there is funding for them.

Committee Composition

Committee composition is one chair and at least four members, one of whom may be a professional archaeologist who is a past or present member of the Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology Advisory Committee.

Term Length

Term length is three years. 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


Committee Chair and End of Term

Pei-Lin Yu [2026]

Committee Chair Contact Information

Committee Members and Ends of Terms

Selection or Evaluation Criteria

Nominations are reviewed individually by members of the Teaching Awards Committee, who select a recipient based on the following criteria: exemplary development of courses and/or programs that encourage critical thinking and scientific reasoning in archaeological pedagogy, creativity and innovation in the development of courses, course materials and/or programs, availability of course materials for sharing via SAA, and overall impact and sustainability. 

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

The committee reads and evaluates all nominations after the submission date. The committee chair takes an email vote before the end of January, and an awardee is selected through a simple majority vote. The chair then prepares the award texts (short and long citations) for the SAA Committee on Awards.

2024 Ted Banning
2023 Ayana Omilade Flewellen
2022 M. Kathryn Brown