The Society for Historical Archaeology James Deetz Award Committee is seeking nominations from members, authors, and publishers for the award.

The Deetz Award is named for James Deetz (1930-2000), whose books are classics for professional archaeologists as well as for nonspecialists. Deetz’s accessible and entertaining style of writing gave his books influence beyond the discipline because they are read by a broad audience of non-specialists. The Deetz Award is intended to recognize books and monographs that are similarly well written and accessible to all potential readers.

Books and monographs bearing a date of publication from the previous three years of the conference date will be eligible for consideration for the award that will be presented at the Annual Meetings.

Submissions must meet the following criteria:

  • Historical or post-medieval archaeology must be the major focus of the work;
  • The work must be based upon archaeological evidence rather than strictly upon historical evidence;
  • The work may deal with European, colonial, or indigenous cultural groups in early modern and modern times but not solely with prehistory;
  • The work may be a monograph or an edited volume of essays on the same theme;
  • The work must be well written and accessible and have appeal both to crossover audiences and to the public (i.e., not aimed specifically at scholarly or specialist audiences).

Deadline: June 1, 2019

Please send Letter of Nomination and 3 sample copies for distribution to the Committee, or direct questions, to the address below.   The letter of nomination must include contact information (including e-mail address and telephone) for an appropriate person at the press where the book was published, as well as for the book’s author(s). Contact the Chair of the SHA Awards Committee if the submitter is interested in sending an electronic version of the book (NOTE: even if an electronic version of the book is sent, at least one hard copy of the book must be submitted, depending on the preferences of the review panel).

Deetz Book Award
c/o Paul Mullins, Chair
SHA Awards Committee
Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
425 University Boulevard
Cavanaugh Hall 413E, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: 317-274-9847

Previous Winners

2004    Thomas N. Layton, Gifts of the Celestial Kingdom: A Shipwrecked Cargo for Gold Rush California (Stanford University
Press, 2002)
2005    Laurie A. Wilkie, The Archaeology of Mothering: An African-American Midwife’s Tale (Routledge, 2003).
2006    Jane Perkins Claney, Rockingham Ware in American Culture, 1830-1930: Reading Historical Artifacts (University Press of New
England, 2004)
2007    Kent G. Lightfoot, Indians, Missionaries, and Merchants: The Legacy of Colonial Encounters on the California Frontiers (University of California Press, 2004)
2008    Mark P. Leone, The Archaeology of Liberty in an American Capital: Excavations in Annapolis (University of California Press, 2005)
2009    James Bruseth and Toni Turner, From a Watery Grave: The Discovery and Excavation of La Salle’s Shipwreck, La Belle (Texas A&M University Press, 2005)
2010    Shannon A. Novak, House of Mourning: A Biocultural History of the Mountain Meadows Massacre (University of Utah Press, 2008)
2011    James P. Delgado, Khubilai Khan’s Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada (University of California Press, 2008)
2012    Laurie A. Wilkie, The Lost Boys of Zeta Psi: A Historical Archaeology of Masculinity at a University Fraternity (University of California Press, 2010)
2013    Kelly J. Dixon, Julie M. Schablitsky, and Shannon A. Novak (editors), An Archaeology of Desperation: Exploring the Donner Party’s Alder Creek Camp (University of Oklahoma Press, 2011)
2014    Leland Ferguson, God’s Fields: Landscape, Religion, and Race in Moravian Wachovia (University Press of Florida, 2014)
2015    Meta F. Janowitz and Diane Dallal (editors)Tales of Gotham, Historical Archaeology, Ethnohistory and Microhistory of New York City (Springer, 2013)
2016  Elizabeth Terese Newman, Biography of a Hacienda: Work and Revolution in Rural Mexico (University of Arizona Press, 2014)
2017    Robin M. Lillie and Jenifer E. Mack, Dubuque’s Forgotten Cemetery: Excavating a Nineteenth-Century Burial Ground in a Twenty-First-Century City (University of Iowa Press, 2015)
2018     Martha A. Zierden and Elizabeth J. Reitz, Charleston: An Archaeology of Life in a Coastal Community (University Press of Florida, 2016)