Center for Comparative Archaeology
University of Pittsburgh

Information for Authors

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We publish books of various kinds on comparative archaeological research in any part of the world. In particular, we focus on primary reports of archaeological research--reports that reach conclusions of broad enough importance to be of interest for comparative studies and that support their conclusions with detailed primary data and full accounts of the analyses that connect these data to the conclusions. Some of these reports appear in one of two series initiated by Latin American Archaeology Publications. Memoirs in Latin American Archaeology has a larger page size and a format designed to accommodate longer works, while Latin American Archaeology Reports has a smaller page size and a format more suitable for shorter works. Separate reports on archaeological research conducted outside Latin America follow one or the other of these formats, as appropriate. Previously published volumes are listed at index.html. (Select "University of Pittsburgh.") Most of the books that we publish are bilingual.

As information technology evolves we will make increasing use of the opportunities offered by digital publication. Our aim is to pioneer new forms of organizing archaeological data for publication that exploit both the advantages of traditional book formats as well as the advantages of the Internet. In general we seek to make books smaller, more economical, and more synthetic and to deliver large amounts of detailed primary data digitally to complement the printed books. The Comparative Archaeology Database is the open-access online home of these digital datasets. All newly published books are available for purchase in traditional soft cover editions. They are also available (along with all previously published volumes) as open-access PDF files for free download.

We are eager to discuss potential publications with authors relatively early in the process, so that we can collaborate with them in crafting a strategy for complementary paper and digital presentation of their work. Publication projects are reviewed by our own editorial committee, and outside reviewers, as needed. Interested authors are encouraged to contact Elizabeth Arkush to discuss publication of their work.

Matters of Style

We ask authors to provide clearly written and stylistically correct text for both traditional and digital components of a publication. Compactness and directness of expression is strongly encouraged. Authors should follow the Society for American Archaeology's Style Guide (sections 3.3, 3.4, and 3.11, which deal with textual elements, citations, and references). Particularly useful guidance is found in:

Please do not use footnotes or endnotes in any text, as we follow the author-date system as defined in the Chicago Manual of Style , which is an additional useful reference to consult in general.

Manuscript Preparation for Books

Text does not need to be elegantly formatted, because such formatting will only have to be removed later in the publication process. When accepted and ready for publication, text, of course, should be submitted in digital form. Generally a word processor document works best (DOC or DOCX files). Once a manuscript has been accepted with final revisions, it is final; no further changes can be made. It is often convenient to submit a separate file for each chapter. Please adhere to the following rules in preparing text files destined for book publication:

Preparation of Figures for Books

Graphical material should never be included in the manuscript (text file). All figures should be numbered in a single sequence. That is, we call them all "figures" (there are no "maps," "charts," "photographs," or "plates.") The most convenient numbering scheme starts over in each chapter (Figure 1.1, 1.2, etc. in Chapter 1; Figure 2.1, 2.2, etc. in Chapter 2). All figures must be referred to in the text. The first figure referred to in the Chapter 1 text is Figure 1.1; the second referred to is Figure 1.2; etc.

Line drawings should be submitted in digital form. For black and white line art, submit either bitmap or gray-scale TIF files. Resolution should be 1200 pixels per inch (ppi), calculated at the size the figure will appear in the book. That is, if the illustration is finally intended to appear 5 inches wide by 4 inches high, then the TIF file must be 6000 pixels wide and 4800 pixels high. If your TIF file is 1200 pixels wide and 960 pixels high it has only 240 ppi of resolution. This cannot be remedied by simply opening the TIF file with Photoshop and changing the resolution to 1200 ppi. It will be necessary to go back to Illustrator or AutoCAD or whatever program produced the illustration and save a new TIF file with sufficient resolution. Yes, the files will be very large; they can be compressed after saving (for example into .zip or .rar files); and some software can save TIF files with lossless LZW compression.

Plan carefully for the size at which figures will finally appear. All our publications (except Latin American Archaeology Reports) can accommodate illustrations up to 6.75 by 9.5 inches (17.2 by 24 cm). The Report format, can accommodate figures up to 5.25 by 8 inches (13.3 by 20.3 cm). Please note that space for captions must be subtracted from these dimensions (keep in mind that captions will double in size as they will be bilingual.) Larger illustrations could be divided across two facing pages if truly needed, providing a usable space (including caption) of 13.5 by 9.5 inches (34.4 by 24 cm)-- or 10.5 by 8 inches (26.7 by 20.3 cm) in the Report format. However, the illustration may not be fully readable where pages meet, so we do not encourage this.

It is often convenient for the reader if comparable line art is all at the same scale. For example, a series of plans of different excavated areas that vary in size are easier to compare if they are all presented at a scale where, say, 1 cm on the printed page equals 1 m, rather than if all occupy the full width of a page, regardless of what the scale turns out to be. This requires careful advance planning, so that even the largest plan will fit on a page and so that text comes out the same size on the page in all of them. Graphical scales should always appear in figures; scale should never be indicated as a ratio, e.g. 1:1,000. Be sure lines are heavy enough to reproduce well at the size the figure will finally appear.

Use care in choosing text sizes for figures. There is no reason for text in figures to be appreciably larger than the text on the page, and if it is appreciably smaller it will probably not be legible. This means most text in figures should be between 1.5 and 2.0 mm high, although larger text may be appropriate in some contexts, much as headings in text use larger type. Sans serif fonts (such as Arial as opposed to Times Roman) are easier to read at smaller sizes. For bilingual publications, because each figure is only printed once, text in both languages must be included in figures when they are prepared for submission (a caption in both languages will also be present, either below or next to the illustration).

Photographs and other figures involving shades of gray should be submitted as TIF or JPG files. When saving JPG files, use as little compression as possible. Resolution should work out to at least 600 dots per inch at the size the figures are finally to appear. As with line drawings, a low-resolution image does not become high-resolution when it is opened with Photoshop and resampled to more dots per inch. We cannot publish color illustrations on paper, but they can appear in the downloadable PDF of the book or in the online Comparative Archaeology Database.

Preparation of Tables for Books

Tables do not normally include material prepared as graphic images by authors. They are text and numbers organized in rows and columns rather than paragraphs. Like illustrations, tables should never be included in the manuscript (text files.) Each should be a separate spreadsheet file (XLS or XLSX), not a word processor "table" document. Like figures, all tables must be referred to in the text and numbered in the order they are referred to (usually Table 1.1 for the first in Chapter 1, etc.). Tables that consist primarily of numbers will be printed only once in bilingual publications, with text in both languages, and this should be borne in mind when tables are being prepared. A brief, but clear description of the table should follow the table label (e.g., Table 1.1.) on the top cell running across the width of the table. For example: "Table 1.1. Diagnostic sherd counts from excavation units in Area B", followed in the cell below it by its bilingual translation (e.g., "Tabla 1.1 Conteo de tiestos diagnósticos provenientes de las unidades de excavación en el Area B").

The Comparative Archaeology Database

The Comparative Archaeology Database complements books in traditional format, and this is where we now make available most of the detailed data that have traditionally appeared as large tables, figures, and descriptions in printed volumes. Such material is usually difficult or expensive to publish on paper but economical and advantageous to make available electronically in a variety of formats. Such material could include, but is not limited to, quantitative data that is most readily utilized by importing to a database or statistical analysis program; map data that might most easily be used by importing into a GIS program; numerous graphics, especially in color; voluminous and detailed data and descriptions of many kinds. A book should be self-contained, including all information needed to understand how the conclusions were reached, but detailed supporting data will be presented in the online database.

Preparation of material destined for the Comparative Archaeology Database will require close collaboration between Center publications staff and authors, because the nature of this material is highly varied. Such collaboration should begin before much work is invested in the preparation of this material. In general, however, text should be in very plain word processor (DOC) files. Tables should be in spreadsheet XLS files. Line drawings should be in the native file formats of the programs used to prepare them (AI for Illustrator, DWG for AutoCAD, etc.). Photographs may be TIF or JPG files.