The Society for Historical Archaeology’s Journal Historical Archaeology

SHA 2013 Journal Cover Historical Archaeology (ISSN 0440-9213) is the scholarly journal of The Society for Historical Archaeology. The quarterly journal is a benefit of SHA membership. Historical Archaeology is published and distributed on or about 15 March, 15 June, 15 October, and 15 December.

Historical Archaeology was first published in 1967, the year SHA was founded. The journal publishes articles and reports on historic period archaeological research, method, and theory from throughout the world. Although most contributors and reviewers are members of the society, membership is not required to submit manuscripts for publication in Historical Archaeology. Scholarship and pertinence are the determining factors in selecting contributions for publication in SHA’s journal.

Manuscripts submitted for publication should be sent to the research editors. Citation and reference style should follow that specified in the Historical Archaeology style guide, available on this website. Manuscripts ready for submission may be uploaded to here.

Historical Archaeology

Christopher N. Matthews, Ph.D. – Editor

Historical Archaeology is the journal of the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA). Published quarterly with an annual content of approximately 544 pages of articles, and with an on-line publication of Book Reviews and Technical Briefs, Historical Archaeology is one of the world’s premier scholarly publications on the sites and material culture of the modern world. With an emphasis on the formation of a global economy following the exploration and colonization of the 1400s, Historical Archaeology publishes articles on cultural identity and ethnicity, the archaeological expressions of cultural landscapes, theoretical applications to historic sites, archaeological studies of architecture, the archaeology of foodways, technological and methodological approaches to the historic past, synthetic studies on a variety of topics, major site excavations, material culture, and other topics, from both terrestrial and nautical sites.

The staff of Historical Archaeology consists of the Journal Editor and Co-Editor, who are responsible for manuscript solicitation/selection and journal production, respectively; the Associate Editors, who handle the peer review of individual manuscripts; the Book Review Editor, who administers the review of printed and graphic presentations of historical archaeological research; the Technical Briefs Editor, who manages the on-line publication of articles on technologies and technological approaches to historic sites; and the Memorials Editor, who is responsible for the preparation of memorials on key figures in the field. The journal is professionally copy-edited, designed and composited, printed, and distributed by vendors to the SHA.

Manuscripts for submission to Historical Archaeology must be prepared in accordance with Historical Archaeology’s Style Guide. All manuscripts are peer reviewed (see below). The journal typically publishes two thematic issues each year and two issues of contributed articles. Thematic issues are developed by Guest Editors and present collections of papers dealing with a specific subject, culture, region, site type, theory, or technology. Contributed paper volumes include individual articles and may also include Forum collections, in which invited scholars comment on a selected article to provide alternative perspectives on a given topic. Historical Archaeology is prepared one-year in advance, and accepted articles can expect to see publication in the next journal year. Back issues of Historical Archaeology, with a two-year moving wall, and subject matter readers are available for purchase through the Springer website. if you are a SHA member, log into the SHA website first, and then use the link from the Member’s Area.

Peer Review

Historical Archaeology’s manuscript review process is rigorous and is intended to identify the strengths and weaknesses in each submitted manuscript, determine which manuscripts are suitable for publication, and to work with the authors to improve their manuscript prior to publication.


All manuscripts are first read by the Journal Editor to determine if they are ready for review. In order to be accepted for review, manuscripts must follow the Style Guide, must address archaeological subjects of interest to the members of the SHA, and must be reasonably well written. Articles that do not meet these criteria will not be accepted for review. The Journal Editor will notify the author or lead author (for multi-authored papers) of each manuscript to advise them whether or not a manuscript has been accepted for review.

If an article is considered ready for review, the Journal Editor will identify an Associate Editor who will handle the review process, will contact that Associate to verify their willingness and ability to handle the review, and will ship the hard copy and electronic copies of the manuscript to the Associate. Once an Associate Editor is selected, the Journal Editor will notify the author and advise them which Associate will be handling their manuscript review.

The Associate Editor will review the manuscript’s content and must then identify three peer reviewers for the given subject who are willing to read and comment on the manuscript. Depending on the subject matter, this may entail calling or emailing multiple individuals until three willing reviewers have been found. Once the last reviewer has been identified and the last manuscript shipped, the Associate Editor will notify the author that the review is in progress. The Associate Editor may serve as one of the peer reviewers.

Reviewers are asked to comment on the suitability of a manuscript for publication, the strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript’s content, and the author’s writing style and clarity. Once all of the reviews are in, the Associate Editor will determine if a manuscript is suitable for publication.

Reviews result in one of four recommended outcomes: 1) a manuscript is considered acceptable for publication with minor revisions requested, 2) a manuscript is considered acceptable for publication, contingent on more substantial revision, 3) significant issues are noted or the reviewers disagree on the manuscript’s potential for publication, resulting in a request for a second review draft to address these issues, or 4) the manuscript is rejected.

The vast majority of articles published in Historical Archaeology fall under categories 2 and 3 above and are accepted only after a second, and sometimes third, revision and review. Authors should recognize that while strenuous, this review processes produces stronger publications by requiring authors to include all relevant publications and data, alternative perspectives, clarify and support their analyses, and present more conclusive results. Based on trends from the past two years, approximately 85% of submitted manuscripts are accepted for review and approximately 60% of reviewed manuscripts are accepted for publication. The net result is that approximately 50% of manuscripts submitted to Historical Archaeology are published.

The time line for manuscript review varies. In general, the Journal Editor will attempt to read and either accepts a manuscript for review or return it to the author within two weeks of a manuscript’s receipt. An Associate Editor will attempt to have all manuscripts out to review within four weeks of receiving a manuscript. Reviewers are asked to complete their comments and provide their reviews within six weeks; however, the Associate Editor will frequently need to remind late reviewers of the need for their comments at the end of the review period, which will delay provision of review comments to the author. Authors should thus expect to see comments between three and five months from submission of a manuscript. Manuscripts submitted in the late spring or summer months, during the winter holidays, or during the SHA’s annual meeting, can generally expect to add another one to two months to their review schedule, since historical archaeologists, including the Associate Editors, are often busiest at these times and may be in the field. It is very important to recognize that all of Historical Archaeology’s staff are volunteers whose jobs demand their time and attention as well as the journal. It is not unheard of for an Associate Editor to be sent out on an urgent field assignment two days after agreeing to handle a manuscript’s review, and for the review process to incur a delay as a result. Please be patient and professional when dealing with the Associate Editors; all have made a significant contribution of their volunteer time and efforts to assist the SHA in producing Historical Archaeology.

Once a manuscript has been accepted, the author provides the Associate Editor with a journal ready electronic copy and printed copy. The manuscript at this time should also include: 1) permission to use any photograph or drawing not produced by the author, 2) permission to use graphics printed in other publications, and 3) permission to use “personal reference” citations. The Author or Lead Author of each article will be provided a copyright form to sign, date, and return to the Journal Editor. Volume and Issue listing on the copyright is determined by the Journal Editor based on the publications in hand and the schedule for journal composition. Once articles have been copy edited and designed, the Author is provided a proof for review and comment. The copy editor assembles all corrections for the article proofs and provides these to compositor for preparation of the final print-ready journal.

Thematic Issues

Thematic issues are organized by Guest Editors and the Guest Editors determine how the thematic’s peer review is accomplished. Guest Editors may submit a thematic volume of articles to the Journal Editor, like a manuscript, and have the entire thematic volume read by three reviewers. Alternatively, the Guest Editors may use the Round-Robin Review process, and have each draft manuscript read and commented upon by three other authors in the volume. The article authors will then address the reviewers’ comments and the Guest Editors will submit the reviewed manuscript to the Journal Editor along with a listing of the reviewers of the individual manuscripts. The Round Robin process offers advantages for volumes dealing with a common subject matter in that it insures that contributing authors in the volume are aware of the presentations of authors on related subjects in the same volume, ensuring better integration and internal referencing. Round Robin volumes are given one outside review, rather than three. The Journal Editor handles the review of all thematic issues. Reviewed thematic volumes generally take six to eight months for review, given the number of articles each contains.

Thematic volumes should contain between 9 and 11 papers with the objective of a published page length of 116-156 pages. Guest Editors who are developing thematics out of a conference symposium should exclude papers whose results are preliminary or incomplete, as inconclusive results are not suitable for publication. Guest Editors are welcome to include invited papers in a thematic, particularly when they are aware of researchers and prospective articles that would provide a more rounded and complete thematic volume.

Please contact the editors if you have questions about submitting a manuscript for publication. Manuscripts ready for submission may be uploaded to here.