The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has named Anthropology Professor Lynn Meskell and Professor Krish Seetah, the recipients of its 2019's Book Awards. Professor Meskell to receive the Book Award in the Popular category for her book, A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace (Oxford University Press, 2018), and Professor Seetah to receive the Book Award in the Scholarly category for his book Connecting Continents: Archaeology and History in the Indian Ocean World (Ohio University Press, 2018).
SAA Awards recognize and honor knowledge and professional achievements at all career levels--from student and early career archaeologists to those who have made lasting contributions to the Society and the profession. “SAA is one of the leading organizations in archaeology. The Society has a long tradition of acknowledging excellence in the field of archaeology through our awards, which pay tribute to those performing outstanding archaeological scholarship and research,” said SAA President Susan Chandler. “In addition to honoring highly trained and experienced archaeologists, SAA awards also identify up-and coming leaders in the field.”
Among the awards, two prizes are given out to honor recently published books. The scholarly prize for a book that has had, or is expected to have, a major impact on the direction and character of archaeological research. The popular prize for a book that is written for the general public and presents the results of archaeological research to a broader audience.
Professor Seetah’s book is an edited volume on a much neglected area in archaeology, the Indian Ocean World, a region that spans from southern Africa across the waters to Australia. In it, he brought together archaeologists, historians, artists, and other researchers who collectively increase our knowledge in a truly interdisciplinary fashion. Larger topics of colonialism, slavery, migration, heritage construction, climate change, economy, disease, and religion are presented by scholars from across the globe. Different types of evidence are used effectively through several approaches of understanding the past and relating the past to contemporary situations. Ecological considerations underlie various chapters on a wide range of topics. Connecting Continents: Archaeology and History in the Indian Ocean World makes a substantial contribution to anthropology, archaeology, history, and the Indian Ocean World.
Professor Meskell’s book is a definitive book on UNESCO and its involvement in archaeology and the impact of the World Heritage designation. The historical context of this international organization and its influence on archaeology are illuminated through in-depth first-hand research, ample documentation, and insights that provide eye-opening revelations. The successes and failures of UNESCO are many, and they continue today. A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace positions archaeology in a larger, intertwined, and meaningful context. Politics, economics, and current events all factor into whether and how particular sites are deemed worthy of designation or investigation.
“Our department is very proud of the much deserved recognition of our colleagues in Archaeology," said Thomas Blom Hansen, Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropolgy and the Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor in South Asian Studies. "The Stanford Archaeology program may be relatively small but thanks to the outstanding quality of the scholarship of faculty members such as Lynn Meskell and Krish Seetah it is consistently ranked as one of the top programs in the country.”
The awards will be presented during SAA’s 84th Annual Business Meeting in Albuquerque, NM on Friday, April 12, 2019. For more information, see SAA award announcement page.