SAA 2019 – Albuquerque, NM

It is somehow already April, the month when I traditionally abandon the verdant beauty of the English spring:

at a reasonable and relaxing hour:

for a randomly-selected major US city, in order to attend the annual migration of archaeologists represented by the Society for American Archaeology meetings. This year the meetings are in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I am writing this from a bar at LAX after a 4:40 am taxi, 2.5 hour bus ride, and 11 hour flight from Heathrow. I am in better shape than I anticipated, in large part because I abandoned any pretence of working on the plane and instead treated myself to watching all of the Oscar contenders/various thrillers/Marvel blockbusters I have somehow did not seen in 2018 (in order: A Simple Favor, 8th Grade, Venom, and A Star is Born).

How I smile at eminent colleagues with whom I am attempting to network

How I smile at eminent colleagues with whom I am attempting to network

The meetings this year are particularly exciting because I am co-running my first session with my reliable and stalwart collaborator Colin Quinn. The session is titled “Living and Dying in Mountain and Highland Landscapes.” Here’s our abstract:

Due to their unique ecology, topography, and geological complexity, mountain landscapes are of particular importance for anthropological investigations of the relationship between social action and the environment. Papers in this session will address three key issues in order to set a new agenda for mountain bioarchaeology and mortuary archaeology from a global perspective. First, mountain landscapes have been approached from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives. What are the most promising existing approaches and future developments in theorizing a bioarchaeology of mountain landscapes? Mountains can be arenas in which people contest and assert claims to territory, resources, and power. Visibility and accessibility within such landscapes impact communication, interaction, and engagement with other features of local social topographies, such as settlements, activity areas, and pathways. Second, what are the methodological opportunities and challenges for a bioarchaeology and mortuary archaeology of mountain landscapes? How might new methods elucidate the lives and funerary practices of people buried in mountain landscapes? Finally, how do mountain communities compare with contemporaneous groups in the lowlands? To understand mountain adaptations, lifeways, and ideologies, mountain communities must be situated within a larger macroregion to see to what extent their landscape uniquely structured the social lives of upland communities.

Here’s our stellar line-up:

The session looks to be an excellent assembly of colleagues working on issues of identity, community, adaptation, and landscape within the fields of mortuary archaeology and bioarchaeology. Our session is no˚ 183, and takes place this Friday, April 12 from 8:00-11:00 AM in the room 15 Zuni.

Because I am incapable of pacing myself (and also because I assumed that EAA and SAA participation rules were the same – INCORRECT), I am also presenting in a great session co-organized by the Saras2Sara Becker and Sara Juengst.

Their session [353] takes place on Saturday from 1300-1600 in 29 Sandia.

If we are friends, colleagues, friendly colleagues, or nemeses*, please swing by to hear these talks, which I am very much looking forward to, despite the likely absence of alien somatic symbiosis in any featured presentations. If it adds incentive, I can also enthusiastically explain the plot of the movie Venom after either session.

See you soon!

*Or, I suppose, in the unlikely event that you fall into none of those categories but are interested in the bioarchaeology and mortuary archaeology of either mountains or non-ranked societies, come to the talks and then define your social/professional relationship to me after the fact.

Image Credits: Venom smile from Film School Rejects, here.

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3 Responses to SAA 2019 – Albuquerque, NM

  1. Paloma says:

    Hi! I am an archaeologist grad student at Texas A&M. Still taking courses and I wasn’t presenting anything this year at the meetings. Next year I’ll plan to be at the SAA’s, finally. I never been and reading the sessions you posted, I am really wishing I could have attended. Corse work is exhausting, but I am actually about to start writing my term paper for my Anth Cult seminar just on this topic of landscape and culture. So it happens that my academic focus is also mortuary archaeology. I would love to hear these talks as they would help me strengthen my theoretical framework as I’m growing into the discipline. Since I can’t be there, if you have some suggestions on bibliography I’d love to hear it!! Thank you so much for this post! I really appreciate it.

    Paloma Cuello


    • JB says:

      Hi Paloma,
      We’re planning on submitting some of the papers from the volume as a thematic issue of a journal – I’ll let you know if and when that gets published, as it seems like it will be up your alley!


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