Opening Comments for the 75th Anniversary of Antiquity, SAA Meeting, Denver (CO) 2002. (Special Section)

Article excerpt

It is indeed an honour to be here today on this auspicious occasion, the 75th anniversary of one of the world's premier publications in archaeology.

Most of you, and perhaps all of you, are aware that the names of SAA's journals, American Antiquity and Latin American Antiquity derive from your journal, ANTIQUITY. We are indeed fortunate that in 1935 there were no Uriah Heep-type lawyers around to rub their hands, smack their lips and oh-so-'umbly murmur `trademark infringement'.

Carl Guthe, the driving force behind the formation of SAA, wrote in 1967 that the organizers of SAA had considered several names for our journal, such as the `Journal of the Society for American Archaeology' or `The American Archaeological Quarterly'--both descriptive, but dull. Guthe said that he liked the simplicity of `Antiquity', the name that Crawford had settled on for his publication. And so, in 1935, American Antiquity was born.

I spent a very pleasurable afternoon this winter perusing the indices of ANTIQUITY, searching for recognition of the formation of SAA and the borrowing of the name ANTIQUITY. I was surprised to find not a single mention of SAA until 1985, when ANTIQUITY reported on SAA's 50th anniversary conference! Well, I suppose ANTIQUITY wished to make sure that SAA was not simply a flash in the pan. Americans, of course, were never completely ignored. From nearly its inception, New World archaeology has found its way to ANTIQUITY's pages (see Elizabeth DeMarrais' contribution in this issue). But I also found, in one of Crawford's 1934 editorials, the following intriguing remark: `A reader of ANTIQUITY suggested recently that we should start a "comic section"; and a reference to this in our last number has prompted an American reader to send a friendly protest'. All right, so we have no sense of humour. (And this is still an issue, as Paul Bahn pointed out in the January 2002 issue of The SAA Archaeological Record.)

I also found in a 1935 number a more mysterious mention of Americans. Crawford wrote `With the publication of this number we welcome the accession of a group of new readers in the United States of America. …