Award Details

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Dissertation Award

Nomination/Submission Deadline: 31 Oct 2019

Award Description

Members (other than student members) of SAA may nominate a recent graduate whose dissertation they consider to be original, well written, and outstanding.

Who Is Eligible to Submit Nominations or Apply for the Award

Nominations must be made by non-student SAA members (although the nominee need not be a SAA member) and must be in the form of a nomination letter that makes a case for the dissertation. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

Nomination/Submission Materials Required

Nomination letters should include a description of the special contributions of the dissertation and the nominee’s current address. Nominees must have defended their dissertations and received their Ph.D. degree within three years prior to September 1, 2019.  Nominees are informed at the time of nomination by the nominator and are asked to submit to the committee chair, Marilyn Masson, one copy of the dissertation IN PDF FORMAT either on a CD-ROM mailed to the committee chair or via DropBox.  The dissertation must be received by October 31, 2019.

Other Special Requirements

None.

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

A three-year membership in the SAA is given to the recipient. 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.

Current Committee Charge

The committee solicits nominations and selects recipients for the Dissertation Award. The committee annually selects a single dissertation (completed within the last three years in the field of archaeology) that exemplifies exceptional research to receive special recognition as the most outstanding, original contribution to the field at this level.

Committee Composition

Committee composition is one chair and at least four (preferably five) members.

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

Not applicable.

Committee Chair and End of Term

Marilyn Masson [2020]

Committee Chair Contact Information

Committee Members and Ends of Terms

Sonia Alconini [2020], Eleanor M. King [2021], Jennifer Newton [2020], Lisa Overholtzer [2020], Christopher B. Wolff [2021]

Selection or Evaluation Criteria

Submitted dissertations are evaluated and ranked by committee members on factors including originality of research and strengths and weaknesses of the dissertation. 

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

The committee evaluates submitted dissertations through a series of electronic meetings. Honorable Mention(s) may be recognized for the second and third-ranked dissertations if the committee chooses to do so (as per Motion 132-74A, Board of Directors Meeting #132, October 2013).

2019 Hao Zhao (Stanford University)
Hao Zhao’s dissertation offers a comprehensive new understanding of economic institutions and relationships within early Chinese urban capitals previously studied primarily from a political or religious perspective. It offers a new synthesis of massive bone-working industries at the city of Zhouyan and employs a holistic, interdisciplinary approach that incorporates historical sources, art history, bone chemistry analysis, and a battery of zooarchaeological techniques. The bone industry workshops at sites like Zhouyan include, literally, tons of bone debris derived from the manufacture of millions of implements. Bone craftsmanship operated within patronage relationships with nearby elites. The bones of domestic animals, especially cattle, were acquired from diverse locations, attesting to webs of economic interdependency. Zhao also documents the animal ages and element representation linked to manufacturing trajectories. Bone hairpins represent the majority of items made at the workshops, which entered into complex consumption realms related to social status, adornment, and masculine and feminine identity.

2018 Katherine L. Chiou (University of California, Berkeley)

2017 Bernadette Cap (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

2016  Guy David Hepp (University of Colorado at Boulder)

2015 Alan Farahani (University of California, Berkeley)

2014 Matthew A. Peeples (Arizona State University)

2013 Amanda Logan (University of Michigan)

2012 Christopher Morehart (Northwestern University)

2011 Scott G. Ortman (Arizona State University)

2010 Sarah Clayton (Arizona State University)

2009 Timothy Messner (Temple University)

2008 Kevin Fisher (Univeristy of Toronto)

2007 Matthew Liebmann (University of Pennsylvania)

2006 Elisabeth Hildebrand (Washington University in St. Louis)

2005 Severin Fowles (University of Michigan)

2004 Ian G. Robertson (Arizona State University)

2003 Wesley Bernardini (Arizona State University)

2002 Silvia R. Kembel (Stanford University)

2001 Andrew I.L. Duff (Arizona State University)

2000 Alex Barker (University of Michigan)

1999 Karen G. Harry (University of Arizona)

1998 Mark D. Varien (Arizona State University)

1997 Alvaro Higueras-Hare (University of Pittsburgh)

1996 Daniel R. Finamore (Boston University)

1995 David R. Abbott (Arizona State University)

1994 Mary Van Buren (University of Arizona)

1993 Cathy Lebo (Indiana University)

1992 Lynette C. Norr (University of Illinois)

1991 David Anderson (University of Michigan)

1990 David J. Bernstein (State University of New York at Stony Brook)

1988 Judith A. Habicht Mauche (Harvard University)