6-11 January 2015

lessLIE logo

Join Us in Seattle!

The Organizing Committee for the SHA 2015 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology invites all of you back to the Pacific Northwest for the second time in the SHA’s history. The 2015 Conference will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in the heart of the city of Seattle, with many restaurants, famous coffee shops and microbreweries within a short stroll. The conference venue is five blocks from the Pike Place Market and the rejuvenated piers of the Seattle waterfront with ships, waterfront dining, the Seattle Aquarium, and a new enclosed Ferris wheel. As one of America’s gateways to the Pacific Ocean, this is an amazing setting to thinking about our conference theme, “Peripheries and Boundaries.”

As SHA comes to the Pacific Northwest for the second time in the organization’s history we wanted to select a theme that reflects the unique circumstances of the region and addresses some of the issues that frame historical archaeology scholarship in the West. In some ways the theme echoes the historical circumstances of Seattle, a community that was geographically bounded and economically marginal, but whose history transcends those boundaries in the process of becoming one of the 21st century’s economic and cultural centers of the world. We expect that the theme will foster many papers and symposia that explore the many manifestations of boundaries and peripheries in the past – and in the present.

Plenary Session

The West as an Edge: Defining and Exploring Current Approaches in Archaeology

Symposium Chair: Carolyn White (University of Nevada, Reno)


  • Chelsea Rose (Southern Oregon University)
  • James Delgado (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • Kelly Dixon (University of Montana)
  • Laurie Wilkie (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Margie Purser (Sonoma State University)

The plenary will explore the conference theme—boundary and periphery—and will take the idea of “the west” in its myriad forms as its secondary theme.

Panelists will explore their work in the west along with a reflection of their own positioning in relation to the field and to their own research. The panelists will present short papers that respond to three related questions:

  1. What is “the west?”
  2. How does your own work in the west relate to ideas of boundaries and peripheries?
  3. How is your own work bounded, marginalized, peripheral, and/or central to current/recent trends in historical archaeology? That is to say, how do you see your own work as operating on the edges? Or how does it fit within the mainstream of historical archaeology? The papers will be followed by a discussion with audience participation moderated by the symposium chair.

History of Seattle and Relevance

First settled in 1851 Seattle, Washington is one of the cultural jewels of the Pacific Northwest. It is an area that has been inhabited by First Nation peoples going back at least 4000 years. In the years following contact Seattle became a focal point for all of the major extractive industries that fostered western expansion. In the early years the town was prominent in the development of the Northwest logging industry. The city really took off with the gold rush of the 1890s. When gold was discovered in the Yukon Seattle became the provisioning hub for prospecting and mining. What developed in Seattle was a city that became an economic and cultural hub of the northwest. This leadership continued into the twentieth century as Seattle and Boeing Corporation became a leader in the growth of the Aviation industry in the first half of the century and technological innovation in the second half of the century (hello Microsoft!). Today Seattle is widely hailed as one of the most livable cities in North America. It boosts of a relatively temperate climate, a thriving economy and a diverse population. It is a city whose history offers much for the membership of SHA to explore.

The weather: Everyone’s favorite love-hate relationship

Last year from January 6th to January 12th, 2013 the temperature ranged from 55F/13C to 37F/3C (highs) and 42F/6C to 26F/-3C (lows) with no snow and 1.75 inches/4.45 cm of rain over the course of the week. The previous year from January 8th to January 14th, 2012 the temperature ranged from 50F/10C to 41F/5C (highs) and 39F/4C to 27F/-3 (lows) with no snow and 0.35 inches/0.89 cm of rain over the course of the week.

Local tip: although it may “rain” frequently in Seattle the rain is often a light drizzle and so locals rarely carry an umbrella, therefore a water resistant/proof jacket with a hood will do just fine. If you do not wish to pack one with you, there are numerous stores within a couple block radius of the conference hotel which sell umbrellas.

The conference hotel: Sheraton Seattle Hotel

This year’s conference will take place at the http://www.soundtransit.org/schedules/central-link-light-rail

Preferred Airport Transportation Provider — Shuttle Express is the SHA’s preferred airport transportation provider. They will provide SHA Conference attendees a discounted rate of $25 per person round trip between Sea Tac Airport and the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. (Retail rate for this service is $36 per person round trip.)

To make your reservation, call Shuttle Express at 425-981-7000 and tell them you are with the Society for Historical Archaeology to receive the discount or you can book online at:

If you prefer a taxi service the trip can cost $40-$50, with some hotel to the airport services for $40 and may take 25-30 minutes without traffic.

For travel around the city, the “Metro” public bus system operates throughout Seattle and King County, and is one of the most extensive and highly-praised in the nation. To find a route, maps, and fare information visit Metro online at www.metro.kingcounty.gov

There is a scheduled bus service to downtown Vancouver, Canada, through Quick Shuttle, with stops in downtown Seattle, Bellingham International Airport, the Canadian–U.S. border, and at the Vancouver International Airport www.quickcoach.com

If flying isn’t an option or you’re worried about the weather, the train is another option. Amtrak offers a number of trains running from Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, OR, and Vancouver, BC and all across the west coast of the US. http://www.amtrak.com/home

If you choose to drive to the conference, Seattle is the beginning or the end (depending on which way you’re traveling) of Interstate 90 which connects to Interstate 5 which runs through the heart of the city with numerous downtown exits. However, parking downtown and at the hotel ($46 a day) can be very expensive and hard to find. Luckily if you choose to drive you can park at the Sea-Tac airport for cheaper (<$20 a day) and take the light rail for $2.75 each way.

Student Ethics Bowl

Are you a student interested in archaeological dilemmas? Do you want to prepare yourself for the challenges of your professional career? Are you looking for an exciting way to participate in a professional international conference? Then sign up your team or as an individual for the second annual Student Ethics Bowl hosted by the Academic and Professional Training Student Subcommittee at the upcoming Society for Historical Archaeology meeting in Seattle, January 2015.

This event is designed to challenge students in terrestrial and underwater archaeology with case studies relevant to ethical issues that they may encounter in their careers. Teams will be scored on clarity, depth, focus, and judgment in their responses. The bowl is intended to foster both good-natured competition and camaraderie between students from many different backgrounds and universities. Come join us! All are encouraged to attend this public event and cheer on the teams and student representatives in this competition.

Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to participate in fun rounds of friendly competition. Individual students can sign up and we will coordinate teams or students are welcome to form their own teams. Participants will be given cases in advance and winners selected based on team solutions to ethical problems. The SHA Board and Ethics Committee will select judges and coaches.

For additional information and to register for this event, please email shaethicsbowl@gmail.com and find the form included in the Conferences Details and Files section below.

Registration due: December 7, 2015
Student Ethics Bowl: 9am-12pm, Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Conference Logo

The logo for the SHA 2015 Conference was designed by Coast Salish artist lessLIE. Here is his description of the logo’s significance:

Peripheries and Boundaries

In the spirit of spindle whorls, this circular Coast Salish design depicts five eyes pushing towards the boundary of the circle. The enlarged eye at the center is pushing outward and expanding
the space of the spindle hole. The c-form eyes at the periphery of the design are pushing towards the boundary of the design. Simultaneously, the negative space of the trigons at the periphery of the design, are pushing towards the boundary of the design.

In designing this painting, I went through variations of design; stripping the design down to its abstract essentials; testing the boundaries of abstraction and northern Northwest Coast influences, while retaining the spindle whorl shape and Coast Salish design elements.


Listen to the Student Paper Prize for SHA 2015

V. Camille Westmont and “People in this town had a hard life. We had a hard life”: Creating and Re-Creating ‘Patchtown’ History in the Anthracite Region of Northeastern Pennsylvania​

Conference Materials & Files

2015 SHA Conference Abstract Book

SHA 2015 Abstract Book

SHA 2015 Seattle Conference Agenda

Registration Details

SHA 2015 Conference Registration Form

SHA 2015 Conference Volunteer Form

SHA 2015 Sponsor Form

Seattle Sheraton Reservations

SHA 2015 Conference Preliminary Program

SHA 2015 Conference Program

Conference Details and Files

SHA 2015 Call for Papers (PDF)

2015 Conference Exhibitor Prospectus

Ethics Bowl Registration Form (PDF)

Awards Notices

SHA 2015 Quebec City Award (PDF)

SHA 2015 James Deetz Award (PDF)

SHA 2015 Kathleen Kirk Gilmore Dissertation Award (PDF)

SHA 2015 Student Paper Competition Guidelines (PDF)