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Editorial Policy and Statement of Purpose

The American Journal of Archaeology (AJA), the journal of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), is one of the oldest and most widely circulated journals of archaeology in the world. Founded in 1885 as The American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts, it began its second series in 1897.

The Governing Board of the AIA, on 1 May 2021, approved the following expanded statement of purpose for the AJA:1

The AJA publishes original research on the diverse peoples and material cultures of the Mediterranean and related areas, including North Africa (with Egypt and Sudan), Western Asia (with the Caucasus), and Europe, from prehistory through late antiquity.

Manuscripts that address the history of the discipline, archaeological methodologies, theoretical approaches, pedagogy, and the politics and ethics of archaeological heritage are welcome. The AJA encourages submissions that explore the intersections of ancient Mediterranean cultures with other regions and periods, the reception of these cultures in later times, and their ongoing significance in the present.

In accordance with the AIA’s Statement on Archaeology and Social Justice, the AJA is committed to advancing equity and inclusion in archaeological publication. The journal seeks to publish diverse viewpoints, especially from members of historically underrepresented groups, to acknowledge and examine the appropriation of Mediterranean archaeology by racist, nationalist, and colonialist ideologies, and to address critically the biases that have shaped the discipline.

The AJA affirms the critical importance of archaeological context and the responsibility to provide documentation of provenance in archaeological publication. Submissions should follow the AJA’s policies regarding the citation of excavated objects and objects in public and private collections.

The AJA Editors-in-Chief welcome the submission of manuscripts on any subject within that definition. Submissions that announce discoveries, present new information, or break new theoretical ground are especially welcome, as are articles that deal with methodological issues, offer theoretical frameworks for interpretation of archaeological data, or explore the symbiosis between field methodology and the analysis of material culture. In addition to articles, the AJA publishes field reports and newsletters on the archaeology of various regions, comprehensive reviews of the state of the discipline,2 forums,3 archaeological notes,4 necrologies, museum exhibition reviews, book reviews, and review articles (see the editorial statements of the Book Review Editor and Museum Review Editor in AJA 121 [2017] 3–4 and in AJA 122 [2018] 3–4; see also Guidelines for Book Reviewers and Guidelines for Museum Reviewers). Awards presented at each annual meeting of the AIA are no longer published in the April issue, effective 2016. They are available on the AIA website. Pre-2016 published AIA awards are available on AJA Open Access.

All submissions should follow the AJA Policy on the Publication and Citation of Unprovenanced Antiquities.

Submissions considered for publication in the AJA are reviewed by appropriate experts without exception. While AJA Editorial Advisory Board members often serve as reviewers, manuscripts are also screened by outside experts. Most submissions are read by three scholars in addition to the Editors-in-Chief.

  • 1. The statement was drafted by several members of the AJA’s Advisory Board, the academic editors of the AJA, and First Vice President of the AIA Elizabeth S. Greene. Before its submission to the Governing Board, the draft was reviewed by the whole of the AJA’s Advisory Board, AIA President Laetitia La Follette, and AIA Vice President for Research and Academic Affairs Thomas Tartaron. (See the editorial letter from Jane B. Carter in AJA 125.3 [2021].)
  • 2. State of the Discipline: a retrospective and prospective article assessing the history, current trends, and future avenues of research in archaeology.
  • 3. Forum: articles on a specific topic or problem, including but not limited to issues of methodology or theoretical approaches in archaeology, current trends and future avenues of research, and controversies or current debates in the field; published in the printed journal and open access on AJA Online, where readers can post comments and continue the conversation.
  • 4. Archaeological Note: short notes (no more than 5,000 words) that respond in a formal way to topics discussed in Forum pieces or to interpretations put forth in articles; they may also announce new finds or new discoveries or take the form of a Letter to the Editor.