Call for Symposia and Papers

Cape Town´s geographic location and the timing of the Congress at the close of the century are touchstones for the themes of WAC4.

At the meeting point of two oceans, the Cape epitomises the interconnections of the southern hemisphere. What are the similarities and differences in the long archaeological records of Africa, South America, Australasia and India? What has the south contributed to the north, and the east to the west?

At the turn of the millennium, the Congress invites contemplation of landmarks in the long history of humanity. What were the common threads of 1000, 10 000 and 100 000 years ago? What is the particular contribution of archaeology to understanding the full span of the human condition?

And what will be the role of archaeology in the coming millennium? How can new and invigorating perspectives be nurtured, offering a critical perspective on the human condition?

We invite you to participate in WAC4 and contribute to the Congress themes through any of the following categories:
Symposium Convenor

Symposia comprise of a set of papers (4-5 or 8-10) that address a central theme. Convenors submit suggestions for symposia and, once accepted, take responsibility for co-ordinating the session.

Workshop Convenor

Workshops provide a two-hour forum for sharing of information and skills. Workshop convenors are responsible for organising the session and leading discussion.

Symposium Paper Presenter

Fifteen minutes are allotted for paper presentations. Papers are pre-submitted and will be available to all Congress participants through the World Wide Web. Individual papers may be submitted: the Congress organisers will place such papers in appropriate sessions.

Poster Presenter

Posters and photographic presentations may be offered by delegates and will be on display throughout the Congress.

Convenors’ Guidelines

If you wish to see the Guidelines for Symposium Convenors, please go to the Convenors’ Guidelines page.

The official language of the Congress will be English. For full details of language facilities, please contact the Congress organisers.



Organising a symposium at WAC4

The heart of WAC4’s programme will be its symposia. There are three choices for symposia length: a short session (5 papers), a half day (10 papers) or a full day (15 papers). All symposia papers will be pre-submitted, and will be available in the weeks before the Congress for all participants to download via the World Wide Web. Each paper presenter will be allowed 15 minutes to summarise their arguments, leaving plenty of time in each symposium session for discussion.

Each symposium will be under the direction of a Symposium Convenor, who will have a number of clear responsibilities. The WAC4 Academic Committee is already considering a number of symposium proposals, and will give overall shape to the Congress, matching symposia to our general themes. But we are very keen to receive new and exciting proposals that express the full richness of the world archaeology experience. So; if you have a symposium in mind, and are prepared to take responsibility for its organisation, print out the form below and fax it back to us, or e-mail us at

A step-by-step guide to offering a symposium

Interested? Then print out the Symposium Convenor Form on this web site, or request a copy from the Congress Secretariat. Then complete the form and either fax it or mail it to the WAC4 Congress Secretariat, according to the instructions at the top of the form.

As soon as we receive your completed Symposium Convenor Form, we will send you a Convenor’s Pack. This Pack will include a set of WAC4 Congress Registration Forms for you to distribute to each contributor who will present a paper in your symposium. It is important that each contributor, including the Symposium Convenors, registers directly with the Congress Secretariat. This is to ensure that all individual requirements for accommodation, tours etc. are properly met. Each participant in your session (yourself as well, if you are delivering a paper) must deposit an abstract fee of US$60 with the Cogress Secreteriat. The abstract fee will be credited to each participant’s Congress registration account; it is not an extra fee, penalising participants for offering papers!

At the same time that you distribute Congress Registration Forms to participants in your symposium, you must ask them to prepare an abstract of between 150 and 200 words for their paper. They must send these to you, and you must then bring them together as a single prospectus for your symposium. You must also decide on a title for your symposium, and prepare a 500 word description of the scope of the symposium, and the issues that it will explore. This completed symposium prospectus (symposium title, general description, and 5 ,10 or 15 paper abstracts) must be in electronic form, in a standard word processing programme or in a text-only format.

We may also contact you during this period when you are pulling together your symposium in order to suggest potential participants whom you may not know about. This is because some people will contact us directly with individual paper suggestions that we will need to place in specific symposia. Similarly, if people propose papers to you that do not fit easily into the symposium that you are planning, please refer them directly to the Congress Secretariat, and we will attempt to find an alternative symposium in which they can participate.

As soon as you have completed these tasks, and not later than 30 April 1998, you must send the following back to the Congress Secretariat: your complete symposium prospectus, on disc and as a print-out.

You are not responsible for collecting the Congress Registration Forms from your symposium participants ; these must be submitted directly to the Congress organisers by each participant. But be sure that each contributor understands that their abstract fees will be credited to their registration accounts. Please remember to complete a Congress Registration Form for yourself!

We will confirm acceptance of your symposium proposal as soon as we can after we have received your completed proposal and payment. In the very unlikely event of our having to turn down your proposal, abstract fees will be refunded in full.

Your next task will be to collect the full text of each paper in your symposium from your group of participants. Papers can be up to 5,000 words in length, and must be submitted to us in electronic form. This is to allow us to make them available to all Congress participants prior to the meeting and via the World Wide Web. Unfortunately, papers cannot include embedded graphic files, because these make the files too large for our electronic distribution system. We must receive the full version of all papers in your symposium by 30 September 1998.

This may seem very involved but there are some major advantages to this system:

as Convenor, you will have seen all the papers in your session well before the meeting. This will allow you to structure an exciting and productive discussion, and avoid the boring old format where participants simply stand up and read.

for once, you will not receive “pre-circulated” papers when you get home after the Congress.

everyone, once registered for the Congress, will be able to download any paper from any symposium. This will help you to follow contributions to parallel sessions, and soften the consequences of difficult intellectual choices.

by distributing pre-submitted papers electronically, we can pass on the considerable saving in postage and paper in a lower registration fee, and WAC4 will be environment-friendly.