In The Field

SAA: How to title your paper

The Society for American Archeology meeting kicks off today in lovely Vancouver, Canada (the picture is of the scenic convention center here). Of all the scientific meetings I’ve been to — these include geology, physics, neuroscience, astronomy, you name it — the archaeologists are by far the best at coming up with paper titles. vancouver.gif

There seems to be some kind of unwritten rule that one must have a punchy, preferably pun-laden title followed by a colon and then what you actually mean to say. Take for instance the (not-so-interestingly titled) symposium tomorrow on ‘Socially Embedded Violence in the Ancient Americas: Beyond Sacrifice and Cannibalism’.

Here one will be able to sample the wonders of talks such as:

‘On Stars and Skeletons: reflections on the role of religion in state-sponsored violence’

‘Talking Heads and the Grateful Dead: unpacking the meaning of trophy heads at Tiwanaku’


‘Killing Them Softly, Killing Them Loudly: warfare and violent display in the Andes’

You must admit, those sound far sexier than any talk on neurogenesis in rat brains…

Image courtesy Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre


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