The South African Archaeological Bulletin is an internationally accredited journal that publishes original peer-reviewed research articles, field and technical reports, discussion forum contributions, and book reviews on all aspects of African archaeology. Submission of an article is understood to imply that the article is original and unpublished, and that it is not being considered for publica- tion elsewhere. Before the review process, each submitted article will be assessed for plagiarism, and if not original, the article will be rejected. Submissions should follow the style guidelines below and the conventions used in recent issues of the journal. Strict adherence to these guidelines and authorial conformity to the Bulletin’s house style streamlines the processing of manuscripts, expedites publi- cation and enables the South African Archaeological Bulletin to continue publishing research articles without charging page fees for submissions that adhere to the prescribed word-length and maximum number of tables and illustrations. The South African Archaeological Bulletin follows a double-blind review process. To protect author confidentiality initial submissions should be sent in PDF format. Illustrations (low-resolution images and tables) and references should be placed in the text following conventions outlined in this document. All names, affiliations, and contact details should be removed from the text and PDF document. Manuscripts should include an abstract of 300 and 250 words for the Research Articles and Field and technical reports respectively. Manuscripts should be accompanied by 5 key words outlining the content of the manuscript.

In addition to your manuscript, you must submit a letter that includes:
  • the name/s, affiliation/s and e-mail address/es of the author/s,
  • an indication of whether the submission is for the research, field and technical, or discussion section of the journal,
  • the names and e-mail addresses of four potential reviewers (reviewers are appointed at the discretion of the Editor),
  • a declaration that the research has neither been published nor is under review elsewhere.

Manuscripts and submission letters must be sent to Potential contributors are invited to correspond with the editors about whether or not a particular article would be of interest, or to obtain advice about the way in which a manuscript should be prepared for submission. Colour images and early printing can be requested and may be granted at the discretion of, and conditions set out by, the editors and publisher. All costs regarding such special requests revert to the author, and are payable prior to publication. Completing the review process can take time for various reasons and send- ing manuscripts for a review does not provide any promise to prospective author(s) that their submission has been accepted for publication. Reviews should be returned in four weeks but such a time frame cannot be guaranteed.

The journal uses a double-blind review process whereby both author(s) and reviewers are concealed from each other during the review. Some reviewers may choose to be known to the author(s). Editors may advise on the contribution type best suited for a manuscript, and where appropriate re-allocate a contribution to the appropriate section of the journal. They reserve the right to make alterations to the text to comply with current standards of language usage and journal conventions.

Manuscripts must be prepared in MS Word using the English (UK) language setting (not American), and formatted as follows:
  • Times New Roman 11pt.
  • One-and-a-half line spacing, left aligned.
  • Title in bold capitals, headings in bold capitals, sub-headings in capitals. Further subdivision is not recommended.
  • Avoid embedded fonts, special formatting, notes and footnotes (if necessary endnotes can be used).
Authors will receive provisional page proofs electronically as PDF files. These must be returned within a week to the editors to avoid delays in publica- tion. Substantial changes made at proof stage will be charged to the author. Manuscripts are normally published in the order in which they are accepted and finalised.

Research articles: manuscripts emanating from a coherently defined research project informed by a clear research agenda [research question(s)] that have led to substantial findings [and not mid-term findings].
Field and technical reports: these are short contributions focused on develop- ments in archaeological field or laboratory research, thus providing a platform for researchers to test and debate procedures for recording and communicating developments in archaeological method and practice (maximum word count of 5000 and a short abstract of no more than 250 words).
Discussion forum contributions: are short discussion notes that respond to articles or reports in previous Bulletins or provide comment on a topical matter relating to African archaeology (maximum word count of 3000). Selected manu- scripts may be sent to commentators and their reviews may be published in order to promote scholarly debate. The author will have the opportunity to respond to these comments.
Book reviews: are commissioned by the Book Reviews Editor (maximum word count of 1000).

Please note that tables, references, and illustrations are included in the word count. You will be notified by the editor for costs relating to articles that go over the set word count.

  • All submissions should be concise, jargon-free, reader-friendly, make proper reference to the relevant literature and avoid undue repetition of facts or methods already in the public record.
  • Units should conform to the SI convention and be abbreviated accordingly. Metric units and their international symbols are used throughout, as is the decimal point (not the decimal comma) and the 24-hour clock (e.g. 08:00, 17:25).
  • For radiocarbon dates: refer to radiocarbon rather than to C14. Use BP, BC or AD for calibrated dates, but bp for uncalibrated dates. Radiocarbon dates should be accompanied by a laboratory index number and a statement of probable error. Note the order and spacing as follows: 15 000 BP, 2500 BC and AD 200.
  • For non-radiocarbon age estimates of over 10 000 years, use ka and Ma to indicate thousands and millions of years.
  • Spacing and punctuation: there should be one space (not two) between sentences; one space before unit terms (e.g. 5 kg, 5 g, 5 cm, 5 km, 5 days); no space before % or ° (e.g. 5%, 23°C, 26°10’S). Thousands/millions, when not abbreviated by ka or Ma, are marked with a space, not a comma (e.g. 1000, 10 000, 100 000). Ranges are expressed with an extended hyphen (e.g. 3–5 km), not with a short hyphen.
  • Dates, italics, bold: dates are written in the following style: 13 July 1973. Book and journal titles as well as words within the text that are not English must be italicised (e.g. et al.). Bold is used for emphasis.
  • Inverted commas: double inverted commas are used for all direct citations. Direct citations must be referenced with a page number (e.g. Brown 1999: 45). Single inverted commas are employed when a word is used in specific manner that may be different to its standard dictionary definition and/or in a manner not accepted by the author, for example, “In San folklore ‘traditional hunting’ refers only to...” or “The Apartheid government’s conception of ‘black’ prehis- tory was...”.

  • References are listed alphabetically at the end of the manuscript using the Harvard System as follows:
Goodwin, A.J.H. 1946. The Loom of Prehistory. Cape Town: South African Archaeological Society.
Inskeep, R.R. 1967. The Later Stone Age. In: Bishop, W.W. & Clark, J.D. (eds) Background to Evolution in Africa: 557–582. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Loubser, J.H.N. & Dowson, T.A. 1987. Tombo-la-Ndou: the Venda perception of San rock art. South African Archaeological Bulletin 42: 51–554.
Morris, M. 2005. Evolution comes with a twist, viewed August 2005, from
Musonda, F.B. 1983. Aspects of the prehistory of the Lunsemfwa drainage basin, Zambia, during the last 20 000 years. Unpublished PhD dissertation. Berkeley: University of California.
  • Book and journal titles should be written in full in title case and placed in italics.
  • References in the text should be thus, ‘Brown (1997) stated that...’ or ‘It has been demonstrated (Brown 1997a,b; Smith 1998; Jones 2000, 2004, 2009; Green 2005; Wright 2008) that...’.
  • Personal communications should be incorporated in the text thus, (Ben Brown [University of Cape Town], pers. comm. 2007). Unpublished observations should be incorporated in the text thus, (Ben Brown, pers. obs. 2007).
Please ask the editor for a copy of a detailed description of how to reference using the Harvard System.

  • The maximum number of illustrations (including tables and figures) is ten per paper; a greater number may be accepted at the discretion of the editors and/or at the cost of the author/s.
  • Tables and figures should be numbered according to their appearance in the text.
  • Tables (prepared in MS Word) and table captions should be provided after the reference list in the main manuscript.
  • Figure captions should be provided after the tables and table captions at the end of the manuscript.
  • Upon acceptance, each electronic figure must be submitted separately using the following specifications: fit to the width of one or two columns of text (either 88 mm or 180 mm), photographs/slides should be scanned at a mini- mum of 300 dpi at final print size, line art should be scanned at a minimum of 1200 dpi (with the scanner in line art, i.e. B&W, mode). Illustrations should be saved as a TIFF (extension *.tif) file.

In terms of the Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978, the copyright in an article vests in the author. Upon acceptance of an article for publication, the author will be asked to cede to the publisher the absolute right to reproduce the article at any time at the publisher’s discretion and expense without reference or payment to the contributor. Authors will, however, retain the right to make copies of their papers for classroom teaching and for inclusion in their theses or dissertations. They may also use their original figures and tables in future works.

A PDF version of the submission guidelines can be found here