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Archaeology: Note regarding Journals

Note from Dr. Clifford Brown (FAU Archaeology Professor)

Some of your professors may ask you to complete assignments using reliable or valid sources. Finding and recognizing authoritative sources is one foundation of critical thinking. Peer-review is one technique that scholars use to ensure that publications meet scientific standards. Peer-review doesn’t guarantee that the conclusions of an article are true, but it does help improve the quality and reliability of publications by checking their methods, sources, and arguments. Your professors may explicitly require you to use peer-reviewed publications, but even if they don’t say it, they may expect it.

Because archaeology is such a broad field—its coverage ranges from the arts and art history to the humanities to the social sciences to the natural sciences—it is difficult to predict where you will find articles. Some very significant archaeology articles are published in prestigious general science journals such as Science, Nature, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the Public Library of Science-One (PloS One), and others. Occasionally, archaeological articles are published in specialized non-archaeological scientific journals, such as journals on chemistry, geology, or spectroscopy.

There are also many hundreds of archaeology journals published around the world. Because archaeological sites and cultures are localized phenomena, there are local and regional archaeology journals all around the world. For example, most states in the United States have their own archaeology journals. In Florida, the journal Florida Anthropologist publishes many archaeology articles. There are also regional journals, such as Southeastern Archaeology, the Archaeology of Eastern North America, Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology, and California Archaeology.

If you review the list below, you will notice that the top journals are often published by professional scientific societies. This is true in many fields, not just archaeology.

If you’re looking for peer-reviewed articles for your archaeology class project or term paper, you should consider looking at the following list, which includes the most important peer-reviewed journals in the field. We have included a range of journals in following list, but there are many archaeological journals and the list is not complete. All of these journals are available through the library web site.