With a new year comes not only new beginnings but also fresh initiatives and expectations, and so it seems appropriate to include in this January issue a brief letter to announce the projects we have been working on at the AJA. Our mandate remains the same: to publish articles “devoted to the art and archaeology of ancient Europe and the Mediterranean world, including the Near East and Egypt, from prehistoric to Late Antique times.” As Editor-in-Chief, I continue to welcome manuscripts on any subject within that broad definition, especially articles that announce discoveries, present new information, or break new theoretical ground, as well as those that address methodological issues, explore the symbiosis between field methodology and the analysis of material culture, or illuminate in novel ways the art and archaeology of the ancient world, extending occasionally beyond our traditional geographical and chronological scope. I am also interested in revitalizing the AJA Newsletter, and would like to include, in particular, newsletters from parts of the ancient world not traditionally covered by the AJA. I thus invite readers who are interested in writing such pieces to send me their proposals.
Under the heading of new initiatives, we are pleased to announce that, beginning with this issue, we are introducing an online manuscript submission and peer-review system. Authors can now, if they wish, submit manuscripts and illustrations via our website. No special expertise or computer software is required, and authors and reviewers will have the same degree of anonymity that they currently enjoy. Although we will continue to accept submissions via mail, we do expect to move to an entirely online system eventually. This process will make it much easier for the editorial staff to monitor the progress of all submitted manuscripts and will be an important step toward an efficient and timely digital workflow for the Journal.
Under the heading of new expectations, we have published herein slightly revised instructions for authors and an updated list of publications abbreviations. These expand and supersede the guidelines published in AJA 104 (2000) 3–24. Please note that we now require authors to input Greek text in a Unicode font, and that the AJA now uses B.C.E. and C.E. rather than B.C. and A.D.
We will continue to publish AJA Outlook, a supplement to the Journal that includes space for advertisements and announcements of upcoming events, meetings, fellowships, and other topics of interest to our readers. Contact information for such notices is available on the AJA website.
We have been busy in the AJA editorial offices during the past year. In October 2005, we launched a redesigned website, which is more dynamic and interactive and not simply a static archive. It includes more features and content and is, in effect, an extension of the Journal. For example, in January 2006, we began publishing book and museum exhibition reviews online. These reviews are listed in the table of contents for a particular printed issue but do not appear in that issue. The editors consider both online and print reviews to be bone fide publications of the AJA, and we intend to increase the number and frequency of those online. Also in concert with the January 2006 issue of the Journal, we began posting Image Galleries on our website to showcase supplemental illustrations for articles in the print publication. We hope that in the future, these “galleries” will include more than just graphics (e.g., supplementary data sets). In addition, we will soon launch the AJA e-Update, an email that will quickly and efficiently disseminate important information to our subscribers. Therefore, when you renew your subscription, do not forget to include your email address.
These administrative and editorial initiatives are meant to improve the management of the Journal, to strengthen its editorial perspective (by reinvigorating its role within the discipline as a whole and by including new material in its pages), and to expand its readership. Let me close, however, by saying that I believe that the stature of the AJA resides not in such innovations but in the quality of the material that it publishes. No initiative will ever be a substitute for presenting the very best articles and reviews in archaeology. That has always been my primary mission, and it has not changed with the new year.
Naomi J. Norman