Call for papers: SAA 1995

Sat, 20 Aug 1994 20:02:00 PDT


We are requesting papers for a symposium tentatively titled
"Fleshing Out Formal Analyses: New Approaches to Archaeological
Problems" for the Society for American Archaeology Annual
Meeting, Minneapolis, May 3-7, 1995.


Many new analytical tools are changing the complexion of formal
analyses in archaeology. GIS's help archaeologists manage spatial
data to an extent not previously possible. Complexity theory and
artificial intelligence models provide methods for visualizing
the ramifications of complex cultural and ecological processes.
Alternative statistical approaches, such as Bayesian methods of
parameter estimation, can provide clearer bases for evaluating
archaeological data.

Naturally, the use of these tools has progressed further in
domains of analysis where the applicability is clearer and the
need greater. For example, archaeologists concerned with land
management problems have explored the possible benefits of GIS-
based analyses more fully than have archaeologists who work with
artifact classification, seriation, taphonomy, and even intrasite
and intersite spatial analyses. Even so, GIS's can assist and
augment analyses in all these problem domains. Similar
observations apply to the use of other new analytical tools. In
short, archaeologists have not yet utilized the full potential of
these analytical tools.

At the same time, archaeologists are increasingly interested in
in context, ideology, and other phenomena not amenable to simple
formal approaches. Clearly, archaeological analyses can benefit
from innovative formal analyses which can characterize complex
cultural phenomena or contrast clearly the relative strengths of
different models of such phenomena.

This symposium will explore new ways of applying formal tools to
substantive problems in anthropological archaeological research.
Contributed papers should focus on a substantive problem and
illustrate through a specific example how formal methods may be
usefully applied to the problem. Each paper should extend the use
of presently available formal tools beyond already well-defined
paths of analysis.

Interested participants should contact the symposium organizers
no later than September 15, 1994. The organizers hope to publish
the collected symposium papers after the SAA meetings.

Dwight Read and Martin Biskowski
Department of Anthropology
Los Angeles, CA 90024