Society for American Archaeology

The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) is a professional association for the archaeology of the Americas. It was founded in 1934 and its headquarters are in based in Washington, D.C.. As of 2019, it has 7,500 members.[1] Its current president is Joe E. Watkins.[2]

The mission statement of the SAA is to expand understanding and appreciation of humanity's past as achieved through systematic investigation of the archaeological record; promote research, stewardship of archaeological resources, public and professional education, and the dissemination of knowledge; and serve the public interest.[3] It organizes a major academic conference every year and publishes several journals, including American Antiquity.

Annual meetings

The first annual meeting took place in December 1935 in Andover, Massachusetts, and has taken place every year since. Only one meeting, the 8th annual meeting of 1943, did not physically take place. According to the most recent annual meeting program book, "because of travel difficulties & other wartime restrictions, the 1943 Annual Meeting was conducted by mail".[4]

Since 2000, the SAA's annual meetings have been held in:

2019 annual meeting controversy

In April 2019, the SAA's 84th annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico,[5] was the subject of controversy due to the attendance of David Yesner, a former professor of archaeology at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).[6][7][8][9] Prior to the meeting, a Title IX investigation at UAA had found Yesner guilty of "decades of sexual misconduct".[10] UAA banned him from its premises and any affiliated events, and advised students to contact the police if they saw him on campus.[11] Despite this, Yesner was allowed to attend the SAA annual meeting.[6][7] As a result, three targets of Yesner's harassment had to leave the meeting early.[6] The science journalist Michael Balter was also barred from the meeting by its organisers, apparently because he had approached Yesner and asked him to leave. Balter had traveled to the meeting to appear on a panel on the Me Too movement in archaeology.[6][7]

An open letter to the SAA leadership criticising its handling of the incident was signed by almost 2000 archaeologists.[12] Kristina Killgrove also resigned her position as the chair of the SAA's media relations committee in protest.[13] The SAA subsequently issued an apology[14] but claimed that it did not receive complaints about Yesner's presence at the conference until its second day, and acted upon them "within hours".[15]


The SAA publishes American Antiquity, Latin American Antiquity and Advances in Archaeological Practice. It also publishes a magazine, the SAA Archaeological Record, previously known as the Bulletin of the Society for American Archaeology (until 1990) and the SAA Bulletin (1990–2001).


  1. "About SAA". Society for American Archaeology. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  2. "Board of Directors". Society for American Archaeology. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  3. "Mission & Goals". Society for American Archaeology. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  4. Society for American Archaeology (2008)
  5. "Annual Meeting". Society for American Archaeology. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  6. Flaherty, Colleen (April 15, 2019). "Archaeology group faces backlash over how it handled known harasser's attendance at meeting". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  7. Grens, Kerry (April 12, 2019). "An Archaeology Meeting Finds Itself in the Middle of #MeTooSTEM". The Scientist. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  8. "Academics outraged by presence of ex-UAA anthropology professor at conference". KTVA. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  9. Wade, Lizzie (April 15, 2019). "#MeToo controversy erupts at archaeology meeting". Science. doi:10.1126/science.aax7037. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  10. "Title IX investigation reveals decades of sexual misconduct by former UAA professor". KTVA. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  11. "UAA police: Former professor accused of sexual misconduct banned from university property, events". KTVA. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  12. Bishara, Hakim (April 16, 2019). "2,000 Archaeologists and Scholars Ask Society for American Archaeology to Review Sexual Harassment Policy". Hyperallergic. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  13. Killgrove, Kristina (April 14, 2019). "My Resignation as Chair of the SAA Media Relations Committee". Powered by Osteons. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  14. "SAA Issues an Apology". Society for American Archaeology. April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  15. "Dispelling the rumors regarding Dr. David Yesner's removal from the SAA meeting". Society for American Archaeology. April 17, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
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