Conference & Awards

Conference 2024 – Call for Papers

Archaeology Lifelines

Society for Museum Archaeology Annual Conference 2024

to be held at

National Museums Cardiff on 7th-8th of November 2024

The Society for Museum Archaeology (SMA) is seeking proposals for contributions to its 2024 conference: Archaeology Lifelines. We welcome both presentations and practical based workshops from those working across archaeology in professional and non-professional capacities.

Our conference will be held in person, and we are really looking forward to reconnecting with colleagues and users of museums archaeology. Whilst we would like to see you all, we are also providing an online option for those who cannot make it to Cardiff, for both audiences and presenters. Speakers who cannot attend on the day are welcome to submit their paper via a pre-recorded video presentation.

Our conference theme is Archaeology Lifelines. We hope to use the conference to explore how archaeology can be used to explore past lives, be a lifeline to users and communities, and what lifelines archaeology and its professionals needs today in order to thrive in the future.

We would love this opportunity to broaden the discussions around museum archaeology beyond those who work in the sector. Therefore, we are particularly interested in hearing from users of archaeology, from researchers and professional archaeologists to community partners and participants, to students and volunteers. Museum colleagues and aspiring and early career professionals are also most welcome, and we will be dedicating aspects of the conference to workforce conversations.

Ideas for contributions might include but do not have to be limited to:

  • Showcasing the Archaeology of Wales – a celebration of our hosts at National Museum’s Cardiff with updates from across the country, both within and beyond museum-based archaeology.
  • Archaeology’s role and impact on wider society – Exploring the impact of archaeology on audiences, participants and users. This can include projects which promote wellbeing, sense of community or identity or which further research. We would particularly love to hear from participants and audiences on these projects, as well project coordinators and professionals.
  • Professional life in the archaeology sector: including and beyond museums – Discussions relating to professional and sectorial challenges and opportunities from those within, without and breaking into the sector.
  • Exploring past lives through archaeology – Papers relating to archaeology-based projects which tell us more about the lives of individuals through new or tried and tested techniques.
  • The future of archaeological archivesIs there a lifeline for the future of Archaeology? – Discussions relating to the crisis in archaeology, particularly around storage and expertise.

We would be delighted to hear from anyone (including those who work or have engaged with museum archaeology) who wants to give a conference paper or practical session of either 10 or 25 minutes in length. Please submit proposals for papers by filling out the form below and emailing it to Elsa Price (Conference Officer) at [email protected] by the 2nd of September 2024. If you have any queries or would like to talk through an idea before submitting a proposal, please contact either Elsa or Jenny Durrant (Training Officer) at [email protected].

Publication: SMA publishes the proceedings from its conference as a hard copy volume, and subsequently as a digital download, available from the SMA website. Previous editions are available here

All speakers are invited to submit their papers for publication in these volumes after the conference: the usual format is 1500 words and 6 images. After a number of years where publication has fallen behind, the SMA will catch up in 2024/25, so we ask that all potential speakers consider whether they will be able to contribute a paper when they submit a proposal. Development of the Journal in the future may result in opportunities for conferences papers that are not submitted this year to be submitted for subsequent volumes.

Expenses: SMA welcomes conference papers presented by one or more speakers. However, please be aware that only one speaker per paper will be eligible to claim expenses incurred for travel and subsistence (in line with our expenses policy) and only one speaker per paper will be entitled to attend the whole conference free of charge.

The second speaker may claim the cost of the day they attend to speak as a discount on the total cost of the conference. Speakers will be entitled to all food and refreshments provided free of charge including the conference dinner so long as they are in attendance on that day.

SMA conference speakers may claim for the overnight stay away from home while attending the conference. Normally, only one night’s accommodation can be claimed for, unless a prior agreement has been made with the SMA’s Treasurer. Overnight stays may be claimed up to the following limits (including breakfast): £105.00. Please note that these rates are a maximum and every effort should be made to find accommodation at a lower cost. These limits do include VAT. If you book accommodation that exceeds these limits, you must pay the difference in cost yourself unless a prior agreement has been made with the SMA’s Treasurer.

Watch our Conference  2019 videos online!

Keynote:The Telling of Human Stories 

Archaeology for the People

Norwich Castle

Liverpool: Re-thinking Slums

Lost Landscapes

BC or not BC?

Presenting Prehistory

Beyond the Bling



Waiting in the Wings (digital archaeological archives)

Driving Community Engagement and Research: a vision for Watling Street

Numismatics, Norman England and other Tricky Issues

Is Disposal a participatory practice?

Experiencing the gods: Displaying and interpreting Romano-British religion in museums

How can I put this? Interpreting the Evil Eye for a modern audience

 Watch our Conference 2018 videos online!


And the individual videos are:

Heritage Apprenticeships 

Bristol’s Brilliant Archaeology: planning for all ‘event’ …ualities 

Your Dig: York Archaeological Trust’s new Participatory Community Engagement Programme

Visitor perceptions of, and engagement with, British prehistory displays 

Positive Action with a 3D Printer

Documentation and Curation of 3D Visualization Projects 

Displaying the Dead: results of the Leeds Museum visitor survey 

A new approach to rationalising archaeological shell 

Charging Ahead: Exploring fees for the transfer of archaeological archives in museums in England 

I like to move it, move it……into archive suitable boxes

Pottery Shop? What Pottery Shop? Re – thinking Corbridge from the base up

Improving Archaeological Reference Collections and Typologies 

Digging Deeper into Treasure 

Archaeology matters: pass it on! 

Forging a positive collaboration between Swindon Museum & Art Gallery & Cardiff University 

Old Collections, New Questions: Researching the Roman collections of the Yorkshire Museum

Birmingham: rediscovering archaeology for a superdiverse city 

Putting Cyprus on the Map: promoting the Cypriot archaeology collections at Museums Sheffield

Papyrus for the People at the Petrie Museum 



To promote the interests of archaeology in museums throughout the United Kingdom