Current Archaeology is aimed at the “Middle Market”, that is, we are not “academic/professional” nor on the other hand are we “popular”. We are in between. Our style is generally based on that of The Economist. Thus names should be quoted as forename, followed by surname – no titles, nor initials (standard newspaper practice).
Contributors should aim to get away completely from the usual style of writing formal archaeological reports. Instead, just tell the story: try to put down on paper how you would present the site when you lecture about it to a local archaeological society. Tell us how you came to set up the excavation or project, what questions you wanted to answer, how work progressed, how you reached your conclusions, and what they tell us about the wider period or subject. This is a very typical formula – but any formula will do. Above all, be human, be yourself.
The degree of editing varies. Some articles will be substantially edited, in which case they will be returned to the author for comment, correction, and re-editing. We have no objection to our edits, in turn, being substantially reworked by the contributor. We never publish anything without the full approval of the source, and copies will usually be sent for checking right down to the final page proofs.
We normally reckon to have about 400 words to a page of Current Archaeology: in fact we have about 800 words to a page but then 50% of the average article consists of illustrations.
We do not have footnotes in Current Archaeology. Where there is some major external evidence that should be referred to, it ought to be summarised in the text. The reader should never have to go outside Current Archaeology to understand the article.
Dates should be quoted AD / BC. They should not be quoted either BP, or as a range of dates.
Dating is, of course, a crucial aspect of archaeology, and we rather encourage authors to discuss dating problems and contradictions.
Text for Current Archaeology can be submitted in any format by email.
Current Archaeology is in full colour throughout.
We work with scans and digital photos but can work with slides or prints if no alternative. Please make sure your digital images are c. 20cm by 20cm at 300dpi (or above). We prefer digital files in Photoshop .eps format, tifs, or jpegs, but are also happy to accept virtually any other format.
We always like to make Current Archaeology as elegant as possible and we always choose at least some of our illustrations with half an eye to their aesthetic qualities. In particular, we like to have a picture of the excavations showing the horizon so that the reader can place the excavation within its setting. It is also useful to have photos with people in them to act as a scale.
We are always looking for suitable photos for our front cover. The main requirement is of course that they should be ‘portrait’ rather than ‘landscape’. They can either occupy the whole of the front page, bleeding on three sides, or they can go in a frame, as in our usual standard. Obviously a very high quality is need for the full page photo. We have found by experience that the best front cover photos are those with a strong centralising element: – objects are particularly good. By contrast aerial photos, or landscape views, where the interest is scattered, do not seem to come out well on front covers thought they are often very successful in the body of the article.
We always endeavour to be as fair as possible over copyright. Thus the copyright of a signed article remains with the author, as does the copyright of plans and photos: we merely ask that you give us first reproduction rights, and the rights to any subsequent reprints of the magazine.
In addition, we would also request permission to reproduce any parts of the article on our web pages – we aim to reproduce some of the main articles at about a third length. We also request permission to reproduce material in our advertising brochures.
For administrative convenience we would suggest that you allow us to give minor copyright clearances, that is give permission to teachers to photocopy articles for class use; to local societies to reproduce articles in their local magazine; to the Talking Newspaper for the Blind to reproduce articles on a tape recorder, and any other minor requests.
In all these cases it is assumed that no money changes hands: if a fee is offered, we will of course contact you and pass the relevant part of the fee on to you.
Additional copies of the magazine
We are always happy to supply our sources with extra copies of the magazine. We send out up to eight copies as a matter of course, but we are quite prepared to send you more, especially if you are heading a team of archaeologists. Please let us know how many you need, and we will do our best to accommodate you. You should certainly ask for copies for any sponsors, while curators often find it useful to give a copy to each member of the planning committee. In this way we hope that Current Archaeology will make a contribution to the general cause of archaeology.
All rules of style are meant to be broken. We always welcome new and original articles on new and original topics in a new and original style!