Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Professional Archaeology in the UK under COVID-19
Previous Article in Journal
Acknowledgment to the Reviewers of Humans in 2022
Previous Article in Special Issue
Bending the Trajectory of Field School Teaching and Learning through Active and Advocacy Archaeology
Order Article Reprints
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

African Archaeological Journals and Social Issues 2014–2021

Department of Anthropology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28607, USA
Humans 2023, 3(1), 25-35;
Received: 18 October 2022 / Revised: 4 January 2023 / Accepted: 11 January 2023 / Published: 30 January 2023
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Reflections on the Sociology of Archaeology)


The two waves of reflexivity in archaeology are the identity politics of archaeologists and stakeholder politics. These social issues are considered in this article through the perspective of three African archaeological journals produced from 2014 to 2021. Identity politics is examined through a quantitative analysis of authorship, book reviewing, and the countries covered. I conclude that parity of gender authorship—assuming 61% male and 39% female archaeologists—has been achieved by the African Archaeological Review, Journal of African Archaeology, and Azania. In book reviewing, this is less so. The geographical coverage across the three journals shows lacunae. Stakeholder politics is most visible in book reviews and special issues. Journal ethics and goals and the final topics of open access and other ways of broadening the pool of authors, reviewers, and accessibility are offered.

1. Introduction

The sociology of archaeology began with the Strong Programme of Edinburgh in the 1970s. As those scholars considered both the social conditions for archaeologists and social justice issues (see Kehoe’s paper, this volume), I consider there to be two “waves” of reflexivity in archaeology as perceived in the United States, beginning around 1988: the first is a close look at the topic of gender and, to a lesser degree, other axes of social identification for practicing archaeologists, and the second wave addresses stakeholder groups and how we do and do not interact with, disadvantage, or enable them. While the identity politics of archaeologists has decreased in popularity among authors, the recognition of stakeholder groups and their identities has bourgeoned. Both waves have produced much writing about decolonization—of museums, fieldwork, and research questions and problems—with the first wave articles arguing why white, Anglo-American perspectives are debilitating to scientific advancement and the second wave actively engaging non-archaeologists in research, publication, and management.
The identity politics of archaeologists seeks to answer the question, “How did it happen this way” as Alice Kehoe and Michael Shott point out in their contribution to this special issue of Humans. The inquiry attained maturity with conferences and publications of those conferences (e.g., [1,2,3,4]). My own involvement in this enterprise began in 1989 with a paper on women shell gatherers [1] and then with three edited books from gender conferences that I organized [2,3,4]. I have continued to write about the gender of past actors. Prior to 1991, journals saw only a smattering of these articles, with a notable exception being the 50th Anniversary issue of American Antiquity in 1985. However, today, journal boards and editors have taken the lead in attending to gender parity and that of other identities—such as resource poor or native archaeologists—by offering greater participation in the publishing process, through the language of articles, a greater access to information through open-access articles, and the constitution of editorial boards. What I’ll call stakeholder politics (also captured by the phrase “critical heritage studies” used in the introductory editorial of the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology) has produced copious
Articles that call for and demonstrate cooperation with stakeholder groups. Those authors have important outlets in journals (although see the results of Wright’s quantification in this issue). In this paper, I will look at both waves via archaeology journals focusing on Africa. Relevant to points that will be raised later, I include for each journal discussed the journal publisher and home country. Impact factors give an indication of how significant any discussions of social issues in archaeology in their pages might be.

2. Identity Politics of Archaeologists in African Archaeological Journals: 2014–2021

Identity politics drove much of the archaeological reflexivity from 1988 to 2000 with significant collections of the biographies of early women archaeologists and critiques of publications and granting bias against women archaeologists documented primarily as edited books. The recent focus on the sexual harassment of women has reactivated a gendered perspective on being an archaeologist. Additionally, today, native or local identity, physical and mental handicaps, class, queerness, and community membership are identities also figuring in the assessments of information access and knowledge production.

2.1. Identity Politics Discussed in Articles

Although the topic of gender and class bias and their influence in archaeology is far from exhausted, only two papers in these years blatantly discussed these issues: one by David Witelson [5], contrasting rock art interpretations by Dorothea Bleek and Helen Tongue, and Varadzinová and Jakoubek’s interview with Professor Randi Haaland [6].
Women’s agency in the past, pioneered in African studies by Susan Kent [7], appeared most often as a topic connected to discussions of craft or food. There are several examples clustered in the special issue of the AAR on craft [8]. Numerous papers also reported on ethnological observations of indigenous men and women.

2.2. Parity Assessment of Authors, Reviewers, and Country

Feminists know all too well that relapsing sexism is a pattern. To measure the success of gender parity in the 2010–2020s, I have chosen to collect data on the contents of three African archaeological journals from 2014 to 2021: the Journal of African Archaeology (JAA, Brill, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, IF 1.22), African Archaeological Review (AAR, Springer, USA, IF 1.17), and Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa (Taylor and Francis, Kenya, no IF). An earlier gender parity assessment was reported by the editors of Azania for the years 1966 to 2008, as well as time periods, themes, and countries [9]. The assessment concluded that all topics needed attention.
The gender of authors and the geographical distribution of research efforts continue to be of interest to many journal editors and their publishers, and the Editorial Manager used by many journal consolidators is now collecting data on various sociological elements of published articles but not, unfortunately, of submissions according to the current editors of both the JAA and AAR.

2.2.1. Gender and Authorship

Four hundred and seventy-five original papers were published in these three journals from 2014 to 2021. Men authored (whether the lead or single author) 282 papers (59%) and women 193 papers (41%). The expected participation by women and men is estimated in this perusal due to a lack of statistics on the memberships of any African archaeological organizations to which to compare the publication statistics. The fairly consistent proportions in Table 1 lead me to suspect, however, that women constitute 39% and men 61% of the practicing and publishing Africanists. Therefore, with the exception of the African Archaeological Review in the four years 2014–2017, when women were published at a greater than expected level, and, in slightly circular reasoning, we see that women publish in proportion to their numbers in African archaeology. Hidden in the statistics of publications is whether men and women submitted manuscripts in their expected proportions; this is data that I requested but was not able to obtain as they are not collected by the Editorial Manager.
The proportion of women’s papers that are sole-authored (e.g., from 2014 to 2017, in the AAR, 18 of the total 49 papers by women were single-authored) is calculated in Table 1. Over all of the years and journals (475 papers), women single-authored 53 papers out of 193 (27%), and men individually wrote 97 of 282 papers (32%), suggesting that women and men felt nearly equally (un)comfortable writing alone. Single-authoring statistics do not support interpretations that women scientists are more timid about writing for (dominantly male) peers than male scientists, less able to write (due to motherhood or jobs), more reliant on colleagues or collaborators to undertake research or publish it, or less able to produce worthy papers.

2.2.2. Gender of Book Authors Reviewed and Reviewers

It was also interesting to consider the book reviewing record in these journals (Table 2). A greater number of male Africanists will produce a greater number of books authored by men. A greater number of male Africanists will provide a larger pool of male reviewers, although that logic does not work in so many aspects of modern life (e.g., a great proportion of women does not result in their numerical dominance in politics or corner offices.) There is no way to predict the expected or actual number of books authored by either women or men so the proportion of their books reviewed is unmeasurable. However, it is possible to calculate the expected proportion of books reviewed by women or men. Combining columns 7 and 9 of Table 2 for the total number of women reviewers, women reviewed 26 and 24% of books in the Journal of African Archaeology, which is well below their expected numbers (39%), but were used much more frequently in the African Archaeological Review (44 and 47%) and Azania (40 and 38%). There is a subtle tendency on the part of book review editors to think that women should review women and men should review men, indicating a vestige of paternalism.
In keeping with the centuries-old claims that motherhood and housekeeping interfere with women’s ability to participate academically, the recent pandemic is a fertile place to investigate whether women were set back by the at-home pressures on their research and writing time. Various journals have presented data on women and men submitting manuscripts during COVID-19 and found, in several cases, that COVID-19 apparently impacted women’s scholarly lives more than it did men’s. “International journals have reported a steep reduction in the number of women submitting papers to journals, linked to increased caring responsibilities and job losses disproportionately impacting women during COVID-19” [10]. However, the editors of Latin American Antiquity did not find any noticeable gender disparity during the pandemic. [11] It is not possible to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on women’s or men’s scholarship in the three African journals as the 2021- dated articles may have been submitted and reviewed before March 2020, the start of the pandemic, and the submissions data by gender are unavailable.
In summary, collectively, these journals seem to have achieved the gender parity in publications and book reviewing desired by women critiquing archaeological publications in prior decades. By parity means 61% male and 39% female authors and reviewers. The good record of these journals is, no doubt, due to the awareness of the problems documented prior to 2014 and the move by editors and editorial boards to be vigilant. Many boards are working towards parity on editorial boards themselves however that is defined.

2.2.3. Countries Discussed

Of course, gender is not the only way archaeologists identify or systems discriminate. The mission of the African Archaeological Review demands a high proportion of archaeologists of African heritages as it seeks “an Africa-centered social science that is attentive to indigenous knowledge as the basis for formulating and answering research questions” [12]. Indeed, the journal has a high percentage of authors with last names that appear to be African in derivation. Indigenous knowledge, however, is as varied as are the cultures in any one country or continent. Therefore, to achieve this mission, a journal would need to cover as much geography and as many cultural groups as exist. Table 3 has been created to assess this enterprise.
Table 3 examines the three African journals, again from 2014 to 2021, looking for geographical research concentrations (the countries determined in the article titles or abstracts) and research voids. It lists all African countries and several expansive regions.
Among the papers published in the three African journals, 80 concerned South African sites, twice the number of the second country, Tanzania (32 papers). These two countries were followed by Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, with 22 to 26 articles. Most African countries were the focus of very little archaeological publication over those 8 years. Table 3 suggests the possibility of a geographical bias in publications, such as a higher acceptance rate for South Africa-focused articles. However, civil war in several regions over the period 2010–2020 explains some absences or the diminished number of articles, as does a dearth of archaeologists in several countries. Archaeological programs in many African countries began in the past 15 years so few PhDs have been minted in those countries. Furthermore, there are several country-specific bulletins and newsletters that absorb much writing by archaeologists. The proximity of the British Institute in Eastern Africa to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania provides relatively easy access to those field settings yet does not appear to lead to much information from Uganda. The editors of Azania called out “the boundaries between the archaeologies of the Maghreb and those of Sub-Saharan Africa” [13] p. 2.
A significant effort on the part of editors to address the inclusion of voices and subject matter to solicit special issues on countries with low or no visibility and local authors would further the cause. Azania’s 2015 editorial noted the “near absence of contribution by scholars of eastern African origin among its articles from 1966 to 2008…. Future [after 2015] volumes of Azania must continue the process of constructive engagement with scholars from eastern Africa and the continent as a whole in order to break down misconceptions and to ensure that Azania is truly representative of current research initiatives and academic agendas.” [9] unpaginated. Geographical lacunae and lack of native authors is causally related, although this is not the only explanation.

3. Stakeholder Issues in Three African Archaeology Journals

The identity politics of archaeologists does not capture the breadth of the new sociology of archaeologists. Concerns regarding archaeologists’ identities largely emanated from Western postmodernism and has been carried to non-Western regions and archaeologies by Western trained editors, board members, and authors. One might wonder if the call for expansiveness/democratization is not yet another aspect of Euro-American colonialism. I raise this point because in the call for “an Africa-centered social science that is attentive to indigenous knowledge as the basis for formulating and answering research questions” by the AAR’s editor [14], it may be that these Euro-American axes of identity or ideals about human rights—for archaeologists or their subject matter—are not what that indigenous knowledge would produce as research questions. The same assertion can be made for native American or Aboriginal ontologies/stakeholders or the thousands of other non-Western peoples subjected to archaeological research. The irrelevance of much of the identity politics of archaeologists to stakeholders other than archaeologists may have helped generate the second wave of social concerns, i.e., this new sociology of archaeology. In the introductory essay to this collection, I have further explored these newer concerns as expressed in conference symposia and archaeological societies. Below, I will focus on journal contents addressing stakeholders and editors’ maneuvers to create and provide access to archaeological information for archaeologists and other stakeholders.

3.1. Articles about Stakeholders

In keeping with the times, articles about stakeholders—mostly descendent and local population-- were common in these three journals, although far less frequent than were site reports. Book reviews provided the best window for the readership into archaeological social issues. I noted in the pages of JAA that 8 of 30 book reviews were books focusing on stakeholders (2014—2019). The AAR has created a forum called “The Usable Past” that promises much discussion on social issues. The first forums highlighted food security and heritage tourism.
Special issues composed of solicited articles are clearly the easiest way to address social issues in archaeology. The AAR produced one special issue that contained articles that addressed stakeholders about rock art documentation in 2018 [15]. Azania offered a special issue on slavery and unfree labor, including a paper on commemoration efforts [16,17]. A special issue on the mobility of peoples [18]—in the past—did not crossover into that of the mobility of the handicapped/constrained individuals among stakeholders and archaeologists.

3.2. Access to Equipment and Opportunities

The uneven distribution of equipment and skilled personnel retards efforts to empower Africans and African archaeologists. A quick look at a special issue devoted to rock art and digitization in African Archaeological Review [19] showed 20 authors based in non-African institutions, 8 from South Africa, and 1 from Ethiopia, a distribution that surely reflects the availability of digital equipment. In fact, Thondhlana et al. [20] point out the lack of research equipment in African settings with respect to archaeometallurgy and how that disenfranchises African scholars. Do journals have a role to play in the distribution or ownership of the “means of production” used in the articles they publish? Editorial policies could specify that when equipment-dependent projects are submitted for publication, there be evidence presented that local archaeologists were given training opportunities, at the least.
Related to this concern over the uneven distribution of equipment is that of opportunity. One reviewer of this article raised concerns about the concentration of facilities and researchers into centers, with most located in Europe. While I am sure these centers exacerbate privilege, centers were not obvious in the articles published in these three journals, beyond the presumed benefit of being affiliated with the British Institute of Eastern Africa.

3.3. Editorial Statements of Ethics, Morals, and Purpose

Many journals have published statements of ethics and morals in the past decade that reflect a focus on stakeholders. A 2014 special issue of Azania specifically addressed archaeological ethics. The editors of this issue state in their introduction:
“As archaeologists we thus have a profound role to play. it is possible for archaeology to impact positively upon both the African present and future. For example, the work of archaeologists has provided a tale of African firsts (first human, first fire, first tools, first art, first bed, first rituals etc.) and of the dynamic and inventive nature of African communities…A consequence of this has been the emergence of specific models for post-colonial archaeology in Africa that emphasise, as Paul Lane (2011) has termed them, ‘usable pasts’ and ‘indigenous epistemologies’.
[21] unpaginated
While collaborative archaeology is becoming more commonplace it often accomplishes little more than paying local people to excavate and telling communities what has been found the editors add. The issue offers papers that challenge “the ‘depoliticised-scientific ethic’ (Giblin), the ‘indigenous-training-ethic’ (King and Arthur), the ‘field-school-ethic’ (Mehari et al.), and the ‘archaeologist-as-ethical arbiter’ in contrast to the ‘unethical developer’ with regard to contract archaeology (Ndlovu; Chirikure)”.
These elegant words come from the editor of the African Archaeological Review, Akinwumi Ogundiran:
“We must be attentive to the kinds of archaeology that African institutions are developing. … Heritage-centered archaeology is part of the quest for an Africa-centered social science that is attentive to indigenous knowledge as the basis for formulating and answering research questions. The goal is to privilege [emphasis added] African epistemologies for explaining African ways of being, and building new theories that advance the understanding of our common humanity. This development challenges us to be open to different archaeologies. These will matter to a diverse cast of interest groups, and to the possibilities of reconciling the comparative cross-cultural approaches of anthropological archaeology, with the particularistic and multiversal framework of heritage archaeology. I suspect that we would need to rethink how we present and write scientific ideas so that we can effectively respond to this epistemological quest for Africa-centered archaeology. African Archaeological Review has a vital role to play in this process. We, therefore, welcome bold, experimental, non-linear, and open-ended research presentations and narratives that lack finality but are consistent with the spirit of becoming, a core ontology of being in many African societies.”
The editorials in Azania indicate active attention to publishing by native and women authors [9], monitoring publications by periods and themes [21], sustaining a sense of an archaeological community [13], on repatriation [22], “the importance of working with and learning from” contemporary communities [23], and African and female parity on the editorial board [23]. The editors of the AAR and JAA collectively reported only one case of rejecting a manuscript because of a violation of the journals’ ethics.

3.4. Making Archaeological Information Available—To Us and to Them

All three journals’ editors and boards are concerned with access to their issues. The choice to be acquired by a large journal consolidator, increasing page numbers per volume, the willingness to publish articles in English, French, and Spanish, and the move to open access, with shortened time in the publication process and early publication online are some of the ways information availability has been addressed through acquisition by a consolidator.
Open access to individual articles is a major way that journals have elected to make information available. Publishing free OA articles today is limited to affiliates (e.g., universities) with a “transformative agreement” with journal publishers such as Cambridge University Press (CUP) or Taylor and Francis (Milton Park, UK). All three African journals have an open access option for authors. Taylor and Francis, publishers of 2186 open access journals, including Azania, tell authors, “Upon acceptance choose open access and tell us who should pay your article publishing charge (you will receive a quote). [Then] choose the creative commons license you (or your funder) prefers”. [24] Unfortunately for authors unattached to a research institution, publishing OA articles is expensive and results in spotty open- access articles within an issue. Open access clearly identifies the haves and the have-nots among archaeologists. Free access to entire volumes is the frontier. Springer (Manhattan, New York) has implemented Research4Life, a program that makes journal content freely available to universities, primarily in third-world countries.

3.5. Additional Suggestions for Inclusiveness and Access

The value of special issues discussing archaeological sociology is one way editors can focus attention on matters of archaeological sociology. Other solutions proffered by editors and boards will further change the universe of archaeological publishing. Suggestions that I have encountered are:
Narrative writing might serve better than the traditional essay.
A greater focus on the historic period is a way to attract more articles by unconventional authors.
Have underrepresented archaeologists enter themselves into the reviewer database of the Editorial Manager.
Double-blind reviewing—a practice pursued by several of the newer journals—might help non-professional, new professional, and minority authors achieve greater publication success.
The solicitation of articles.
Non-archaeologists drawn from stakeholder communities as reviewers of articles. While archaeologists trained in the ways of “scientific archaeology” may view this as a violation of the concept of peer review, newly minted archaeologists will probably largely embrace non-archaeologists as peers.
The publication of the abstracts of dissertations, as in Azania, helps to identify potential authors, topics, reviewers, and geographical distribution. Information dissemination via papers in languages other than English will help democratize scholarship as will concerted efforts to fill geographical lacunae. However, only when abstracts and articles are available in the relevant native African languages (determined by geography or social history) will the goal of addressing non-archaeological stakeholders be significantly furthered.

4. Conclusions

Identity politics and stakeholder politics constitute the bulk of the social issues in archaeology today, with stakeholder politics more visible in African archaeological articles and book reviews and identity politics more visible in editorial board statements. Parity in gender metrics is essentially present in these three journals but lagging for native authors when taken as a set. There are glaring lacunae in geographical coverage and a paucity of other-than-English language articles, although abstracts are published in English and French, and civil wars make research and education impossible in many locations.
The stakeholders addressed are primarily African communities: their rock art, food, collaboration, and their management of archaeological resources and traditional knowledge, among many other topics. Among other stakeholders considered are tourists, village elders, archaeologists, government officials, heritage managers, archaeology students, etc. These editors have called for greater visibility of under-represented geographies and natives on editorial boards, more French language papers, and lamented the fragility of the archaeological record and the future of meaningful archaeology that is steeped in collaboration and directed by indigenous wisdom.
Other journals have addressed social issues in similar and unique ways to that of the African archaeology journals. Briefly, discussions of stakeholder communities and heritage programs were frequent in Australian Archaeology and Archaeology in Oceania (Australia, IF 1.27), for instance, and approached through special issues. A special issue of Archaeology in Oceania, edited by Ann Ross [27], addressed metanarratives employed by archaeologists and held by Aboriginal peoples. Papers advocated for non-invasive techniques, challenged geographical lacunae for some cultural practices, and explored custodial responsibilities and Aboriginal social values of place. Yet Alice Wright, in this issue, found in a content analysis of eight archaeological journals, about 1% of the articles published since 2011 addressed or presented community-based research programs with no increase over time.
Important to the discussion of archaeological social issues are the journals that have been launched since 1999 and were founded to address stakeholders and archaeological practice rather than excavations and artifacts. These journals indicate a geographically widespread concern with our audience and the source of research problems. Public Archaeology appeared in 2000 (IF 0.8), the Journal of Social Archaeology in 2001 (IF 1.2), the Journal of Conflict Archaeology in 2005 (IF 0.6), Time and Mind in 2008 (IF 1.3), the Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and History in 2012 (IF 1.1), the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology in 2014 (IF 1.9), and the Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage (IF 1.4) also in 2014. The Journal of Contemporary Archaeology has produced two special issues of note, one critiquing the notion of heritage and our ability to manage it [28] and another rallying several very interesting answers to the query “Are we now all archaeologists?” [29]. Community archaeology in Europe was a special 2022 issue of the Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage. The long running journal World Archaeology has dozens of issues devoted to topics similar to those mentioned here.
Other ethical concerns expressed by the editors of Latin American Antiquity (LAQ) and American Antiquity (USA, IF 3.12) in 2016, of relevance to African archaeology, were as follows: (1) Images of human remains to be published in an article would be reviewed by the editors and permission to publish sought from the president of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), the sponsor of the two journals. It is unproblematic to present images as part of online supplements. (2) The publication of images and papers based on looted items are to be avoided. (3) In order to demonstrate the legality of any fieldwork discussed in a submission, the permit numbers, name of the permitting organization, and name of the permit holder must be included with the submission [30]. I imagine that many journals will want to implement similar ethical positions.
Access to journal content remains a problem for unemployed/retired archaeologists or those working in non-academic settings or third-world countries. Journals that are sponsored by a host organization for which there are membership dues create a problem that is keenly felt in third-world countries. As most submissions to LAQ come from Latin American authors who are not members of the sponsoring organization, the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), the editors observed “very few educational or archaeological research institutions in Latin America receive the journal (more details below). The implication is that the majority of our authors and their students do not have direct access to LAQ” [31].
Consequently, the LAQ board asked of the SAA “that the SAA and Cambridge University Press consider offering free electronic subscriptions to Latin American Antiquity to all university, government, and public libraries in Latin America and the Caribbean that request them. In so doing, the Society for American Archaeology and Cambridge University Press will be returning the cultural heritage of these states to their rightful owners” [31].
In response to the costs of open access, the board of Australian Archaeology in 2019 announced, “The Editors have negotiated a 10% discount to the Open Access cost for Australian Archaeological Association Inc. members. … The Editors have also negotiated for one article per issue to be made free access for 60 days.” [32]. Other journals could attempt the same arrangements.
Taylor and Francis, Cambridge University Press, Equinox, Sage, Brill, and Springer have congregated many archaeological journals over the past 10 years, with little discussion of any negative implications, and many have touted positive ones. Many journals have seen an increase in pages, advertising, color images, the electronic publication of individual papers often months before a complete issue (good for the author), and scholarly indexing. Perhaps the main reasons for selling to a consolidator are the standardized and streamlined submission and editorial process and, said the LAQ editors, “marketing of the journal to institutions. …Now, 98.5% of libraries (8305 of 8428 libraries) receive [LAQ] as part of a ‘consortia’ bundle” [32].
Perhaps this conversion of private journals into “public journals” puts independent, regional, and state journals at a disadvantage, or perhaps, the regionals and unaffiliated journals may offer a simpler and friendlier editorial process (e.g., more “peers”). It may be wrong to assume that “public” journals are more intimidating to all but experienced scholars as venues for submissions, but I suspect that regional and “private” journals will play a vital role in the continued democratization of archaeologists, subjects, and regions.
The economic viability of many journals depends on subscriptions, and subscriptions depend on the quality and usefulness of articles. For those journals attached to an archaeological organization, membership in the organization generates the subscriptions. Therefore, as archaeological organizations commit to broadening their membership through policies that are meant to broaden the definition of who needs and uses archaeological knowledge, the base supporting the journal grows. The journals need to speak to that wider readership, assuring, at least for now, that the path to publication, access, and a reflexive archaeology is widening.


This research and writing received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

All data reported herein were gleaned from on-line table of contents.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares that are no conflict of interest.


  1. Gero, G.; Conkey, M. Engendering Archaeology: Women and Prehistory; Wiley-Blackwell: London, UK, 1991. [Google Scholar]
  2. Claassen, C. (Ed.) Exploring Gender through Archaeology; Prehistory Press: Madison, WI, USA, 1992. [Google Scholar]
  3. Claassen, C. (Ed.) Women in Archaeology; University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, PA, USA, 1994. [Google Scholar]
  4. Claassen, C. (Ed.) Women in Prehistory: North and Central America; University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, PA, USA, 1996. [Google Scholar]
  5. Witelson, D. Frogs or people: Dorothea Bleek and a genealogy of ideas in rock art research. Azania Archaeol. Res. Afr. 2018, 53, 185–208. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  6. Varadzinová, L.; Jakoubek, M. On Food, Pots, Gender, Iron, and Archaeological Theory: Interview with Professor Randi Haaland. Afr. Archaeol. Rev. 2022, 39, 113–132. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  7. Kent, S. (Ed.) Gender in African Prehistory; AltaMira Press: Walnut Creek, CA, USA, 1998. [Google Scholar]
  8. Logan, A.L.; Gokee, C. (Eds.) Special Issue: Comparing Craft and Culinary Practice in Africa. Afr. Archaeol. Rev. 2014, 31, 87–393. [Google Scholar]
  9. Lane, P.J.; Reid, A. Editorial: Azania at Fifty. Azania 2015, 50, 425–436. [Google Scholar]
  10. Ulm, S.; Ross, A. Editorial. Aust. Archaeol. 2021, 87, 227–228. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  11. Hendon, J.; Santoro, C. Diferencias de género de autores y revisores antes y después del inicio de la pandemia. Lat. Am. Antiq. 2021, 32, 229–238. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  12. Ogundiran, A. Doing Archaeology in a Turbulent Time. Afr. Archaeol. Rev. 2021, 38, 397–401. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  13. MacDonald, K.; Mitchell, P.; Robertshaw, P. Editorial. Azania 2018, 53, 1–2. [Google Scholar]
  14. Ogundiran, A. Editor’s Inaugural Remarks. Afr. Archaeol. Rev. 2019, 36, 1–3. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  15. Anderson, H.; Galvin, E.; de Torres, J. (Eds.) Special Issue: African rock art and digital practice. Afr. Archaeol. Rev. 2018, 35, 155–337. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  16. Rødland, H.; Wynne-Jones, S. (Eds.) Archaeological approaches to slavery and unfree labour in Africa. Azania 2020, 55, 417–539. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  17. Apoh, W. Why forget us? Developing the Three-Town enslaved relics as alternative sites of commemoration in southeastern Ghana. Azania 2020, 55, 458–474. [Google Scholar]
  18. Ashley, C.Z.; Antonites, A.; Fredriksen, P.D. (Eds.) Special issue: Mobility and African archaeology. Azania 2016, 51, 417–539. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  19. Anderson, H.; de Torres, J.; Galvin, E. Introduction to Special Issue: African rock art and digital practice. Afr. Archaeol. Rev. 2018, 35, 155–156. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  20. Thondhlana, T.P.; Lyaya, E.C.; Mtetwa, E. The Politics of Knowledge Production: Training and Practice of Archaeological Science in Africa. Afr. Archaeol. Rev. 2022, 39, 461–477. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  21. Giblin, J.; King, R.; Smith, B. (Eds.) Introduction: De-centring ethical assumptions by re-centring ethical debate in African archaeology. Azania 2014, 49, 131–135. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  22. MacDonald, K.; Mitchell, P.; Robertshaw, P. Editorial. Azania 2019, 54, 1–2. [Google Scholar]
  23. MacDonald, K.; Mitchell, P.; Robertshaw, P. Editorial. Azania 2021, 56, 1. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  24. Taylor and Francis. Available online: (accessed on 10 October 2022).
  25. Trubitt, M.B. Reflections of the Outgoing Journal Editor. Horiz. Tradit. 2020, 62, 6–8. [Google Scholar]
  26. Heath-Stout, L. Who Writes about Archaeology: An Intersectional Study of Authorship in Archaeological Journals. Am. Antiq. 2020, 85, 407–426. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  27. Ross, A. Special issue Challenging metanarratives: The past lives in the present. Archaeol. Ocean. 2020, 55, 65–71. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  28. Venovcevs, A.; Bangstad, T. Living with Heritage: Involuntary Entanglements of the Anthropocene—An Introduction. J. Contemp. Archaeol. 2022, 9, 1–6. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  29. Holtorf, C. Forum: Are we all archaeologists now? J. Contemp. Archaeol. 2016, 2, 217–219. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  30. Braswell, G.; Gutiérrez, M. Note from the Editors. Lat. Am. Antiq. 2016, 27, 147–148. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  31. Braswell, G.; Gutiérrez, M. Editors’ Corner. Lat. Am. Antiq. 2020, 31, 223–241. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  32. Goldstein, L.; Nichols, D. From the President. SAA Archaeol. Rec. 2022, 3–4. [Google Scholar]
Table 1. Authors in three African Journals, 2014–2021.
Table 1. Authors in three African Journals, 2014–2021.
JournalYearsMen Lead #Men Lead %Women Lead #Women Lead %Men Single #Men Single %Women Single #Women Single %
Totals 282511934997325327
(Single authors are included in the count of lead authors. Expected percent: 39% women and 61% men). # = “number”. % = “percent”.
Table 2. A gender perspective on reviewers and the reviewed in three African archaeological journals. (“M rev M” reads “men reviewing men authors”.)
Table 2. A gender perspective on reviewers and the reviewed in three African archaeological journals. (“M rev M” reads “men reviewing men authors”.)
JournalYearsMrevM #MrevM %MrevW #MrevW %WrevM #WrevM %WrevW #WrevW %
# = number. % = percent.
Table 3. Countries addressed in African journals’ article titles/abstracts 2014–2021.
Table 3. Countries addressed in African journals’ article titles/abstracts 2014–2021.
Algeria231 6
Angola 1 1 13
Benin4 122 9
Burkina Faso1 1
Burundi 0
Cabo Verde 0
Cameroon 213
Central African Rep 33
Chad 11
Comoros 0
Congo R 1 1
Congo DR211 26
Cote d’Ivoire 0
Djibouti 0
Eastern Africa32 4 9
Egypt612123 24
Equatoria Guinea 11
Eritrea 11 2
Eswatini 0
Gabon 0
Gambia1 1
Ghana21 1127
Guinea 0
Guinea-Bissau 0
Haute Gambia 0
Kenya642 5219
Lesotho 1112 5
Liberia 0
Libya211 1 5
Madagascar1 1 2
Malawi1 1
Maldives 0
Mali12121 7
Mauritania 1 1
Mauritius 22
Morocco4713 15
Mozambique12 1 4
Namibia152 1211
Niger2 1 3
Rwanda 1 1
Sahara region22 3119
Sao Tome and Principe 0
Senegal121 3 7
Seychelles 0
Sierra Leone 0
Somalia2 114
Southern Africa412 5719
South Africa261597101380
South Sudan 22
Sudan4323 1022
Togo 11
Tunisia 1 1
Uganda 2 2
Zambia1211 5
Zimbabwe 23510
Disclaimer/Publisher’s Note: The statements, opinions and data contained in all publications are solely those of the individual author(s) and contributor(s) and not of MDPI and/or the editor(s). MDPI and/or the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to people or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Claassen, C. African Archaeological Journals and Social Issues 2014–2021. Humans 2023, 3, 25-35.

AMA Style

Claassen C. African Archaeological Journals and Social Issues 2014–2021. Humans. 2023; 3(1):25-35.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Claassen, Cheryl. 2023. "African Archaeological Journals and Social Issues 2014–2021" Humans 3, no. 1: 25-35.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop