WAC Congresses are held every four years to promote exchange of the results of archaeological research; professional training and public education for disadvantaged nations, groups and communities; the empowerment and betterment of Indigenous groups and First Nations peoples; and the conservation of archaeological sites.WAC-5 is the first full World Archaeological Congress to be held in North America. The Patron for WAC-5 is Harriet Mayor Fulbright, and the President is Richard West, Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

WAC-5 will be held at The Catholic University of America, centrally located in northeast Washington DC, and easily accessible to the rest of the city and surroundings by Metrorail. Participants may register as congress “residents”, using double-occupancy dorm rooms at Catholic U. at approximately $US40/night per person. Alternatively, they may select housing from the many hotels and motels in Washington, D.C. After the Congress, participants may elect to pay for additional nights in residence halls through the weekend, June 28th/29th.

WAC-5 is scheduled for Saturday, June 21st through Thursday, June 26th, 2003. The congress will open on Saturday afternoon, June 21st. Symposia will run all day Sunday and Monday, June 22nd and June 23rd; Tuesday, June 24th will be an open day, featuring tours or free time for sightseeing, research, library visits and so on. Symposia will resume on Wednesday and Thursday, with a closing plenary session on Thursday afternoon, June 26th. Additional workshops and events may spill over onto Friday, June 27th, 2003.

WAC-5 will be held in partnership with the Anthropology Department of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Pre-registered participants may sign up (in limited numbers) for behind-the-scene tours of facilities or collections. Pre-registered participants may also sign up for workshops on conservation and/or collections management. All participants will be guests at a reception in the Smithsonian Institution’s Natural History museum rotunda.

WAC-5 registration is available at member and non‑member rates. Registration will cover conference materials, lunches for four days, a welcoming reception at Catholic U., a Smithsonian evening reception, and an evening of embassy receptions throughout Washington, D.C. Pre- and post-congress tours will be organized to visit important local and national archaeological sites.

Themes and sessions for WAC-5 are now being confirmed. Each theme will encompass between four and eight individual sessions. Confirmed themes are described below. Other themes are being developed and all confirmed and suggested themes can be seen at the WAC-5 web site:


Indigenous Arrivals and First Peoples, convened by Gustavo Politis (Argentina, ggpolitis@hotmail.com) and Richard Fullagar (Australia, fullagar@uow.edu.au). This theme provides a forum to discuss initial human settlement of continents and islands, and how these first peoples explored and occupied deserts, mountains, tropical rainforest and other environmental zones. What were these arrival landscapes actually like? Dates, dispersal routes and human impacts commonly form a starting point for models of group movement into specific environments, in different parts of the world. Archaeological indicators of initial human arrival may take many forms from megafaunal extinctions to stone tool styles.

Past Human Environments in Modern Contexts, convened by George Nicholas (Canada, nicholas@sfu.ca) and Malcolm Lillie (England, M.C.Lillie@geo.hull.ac.uk). The starting point for this theme is that not only are human-environmental relations highly dynamic, but so too is the way that we study and interpret those relations. Moving from the fundamental basis of analysis through to an heuristic appreciation of the inherent mechanisms operating within human-environment interactions is an essential aspect of current research methodologies. In recognition of this, we identify two complementary dimensions of this theme. The first examines past human-environmental interactions from the perspective of “modern” science, and the second from that of “ancient” science (i.e., traditional or Indigenous knowledge). The interface that exists between them is likely to be a particularly important and productive source of intellectual tension and methodological challenges.

Public Archaeologies, convened by Frank McManamon (USA, FP_McManamon@nps.gov). This theme and its sub-themes will constitute a forum in which professionals working in-or concerned with-heritage management in different countries and international contexts can exchange information on theory, method, techniques, policies and interpretations. All subject matter within this wide category will be considered by this theme.

Landscapes, Gardens and Dreamscapes, convened by Mark Leone (USA, Mleone@anth.umd.edu). This theme encompasses all cultures, yet adds to the classic archaeological concern of settlement patterns by focusing on the land between. During the last 20 years, archaeologists have focused on gardens, planned landscapes, managed vistas, and the use of perspective in historic European settings. Planned urban environments, temple centers, and other ceremonial compounds all involve designed, planted landscapes. A substantial understanding of these has been achieved in many cultures. Neolithic landscapes and the marked landscapes of hunters/gatherers/collectors have also attracted archaeological interest. This WAC-5 theme devoted to landscapes is all inclusive and focuses on the land around, between, and beyond human settlement.

Empowerment and Exploitation: North-South & South-South Archaeological Encounters, convened by Gustavo Martinez (Argentina, gmartine@soc.unicen.edu.ar; gmartine@fiog.fio.unicen.edu.ar), Sven Ouzman (South Africa, rockart@nasmus.co.za) and Robin Torrence (Australia, robint@mail.austmus.gov.au). This theme will focus on exchanging information on what works and what does not work in terms of archaeological practice, especially in practical terms. It will attempt to blend presentations of cooperative international archaeological projects with experiences of transnational knowledge encounters and the practical applications of these encounters. In July 2000 the French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement drafted a declaration “Code of Research Ethics” between researchers in industrialized and developing countries (Nature, 26th July 2000, Vol. 406:337). This initiative has its genesis in the notion of a politically and economically powerful North and a dependant and disorganized South. Fortunately, in archaeology and related disciplines this notion does not always hold and it is more accurate to speak of an ‘equivalency’ based on approaches followed by archaeologists, indigenous people and the interested public in different countries. Often the most creative approaches come from unexpected sources.

WAC Congresses provide a unique opportunity for archaeologists to obtain a global perspective on their discipline. We hope that many of you will be able to join us!

TO LEARN MORE, PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE: http://www.american.edu/wac5


We currently have bids from the Caribbean and Australasia to host WAC-6.

WAC InterCongress on Indigenous Issues and Archaeology
World Indigenous Heritage – Agenda for a New Millennium
Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand.
5th–9th December 2001

Enquires can be addressed to

Brenda Kingi,
Secretary of the Organising Committee, kingib@lincoln.ac.nz or
Centre for Maori and Indigenous Planning and Development, PO Box 84,
Lincoln University,
New Zealand
tel.(+64 3) 3252811
fax (+64 3) 3253817