Thank you for choosing Southern African Field Archaeology as a platform to communicate your data, research, or opinion.


Types of submissions and suggested lengths 

All submissions should be in English (UK spelling) and may take the form of a:

  • Peer-reviewed research report (~3000-8000 words excluding reference list), which may include additional online supplementary files. Include an abstract in English (an additional abstract in any African language is welcomed), briefly presenting the topic, scope, aims and outcomes of the contribution (~150 to 300 words). Provide five keywords.
  • Peer-reviewed concise comparative study, synthesis, or overview (~5000-10 000 words excluding reference list), which may include additional online supplementary files. Include an abstract (an additional abstract in any African language is welcomed), briefly presenting the topic, scope, aims and outcomes of the contribution (~150 to 300 words). Provide five keywords.
  • Peer-reviewed critique/discussion of an article published in FIELD or elsewhere that is relevant to the themes of the journal (~2000-5000 words excluding reference list). Include a short abstract (an additional abstract in any African language is welcomed) briefly presenting the topic in ~100 words. Provide five key words.
  • Non-peer-reviewed short notes at the discretion of the Editorial Board (no abstract, ~1000-3000 words excluding reference list).
  • Non-peer-reviewed editorials and opinion pieces (no abstract, ~2000-3000 words excluding reference list).


Preparing a manuscript for review

Provide your manuscript with a brief title that accurately describes the contents of the paper, followed by the authors' names and affiliations. Ensure that authors listed on the manuscript have made substantial contributions to the conception, funding or design of the work, the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data, drafting or revising the work. Identify the corresponding author and provide their e-mail address.


The contents of all submissions should be concise, well-organised, jargon-free, reader-friendly to a broad range of readers and make proper reference to the relevant literature. Following in the tradition of the original hard-copy journal, authors are encouraged to supply an abstract in an African language of their choice in addition to the English abstract. Please indicate the text for this section according to the following examples: ‘Abstract in isiZulu’, ‘Abstract in Xitsonga’ or ‘Abstract in Afrikaans’. (Authors take full responsibility for the linguistic accuracy of these abstracts.)


We differentiate between the requirements for new and revised submissions. You may submit your new manuscript as a single Microsoft Word file – not PDF – (with tables and figures embedded in the text in their correct positions and sized for optimal readability) with no formatting requirements (other than page numbering and 1.5 text spacing) as long as it is user-friendly and appropriately referenced (both in the text and in the reference list) using the Harvard (alphabetical) referencing system. Supporting online material should be submitted as separate Microsoft Word files and/or Excel files (for raw datasets), and named accordingly (e.g., SOM 1, SOM 2) with corresponding in text citations (e.g., see SOM 1 for typological descriptions). Once your paper has been accepted and is at the revision stage, you will be requested to follow the format below for online production. 


Preparing an accepted manuscript for publication

Authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work accepted for publication in terms of its accuracy and/or integrity. Once a revised manuscript is submitted, it is assumed that all authors have read and given their approval for its publication.


The submission protocol requires that accepted manuscripts should be prepared according to the style and specifications of Southern African Field Archaeology (unformatted manuscripts will be returned to authors). Together with the revised submission, authors are required to submit a cover letter responding to the Specialist Editor’s recommendations and all the points raised by the reviewers. The cover letter should comprise the first few pages of the revised Word file submission.


Structure your revised contribution as follows:

  • Title
  • Authors
  • Author affiliations
  • Corresponding Author: e-mail
  • Abstract (where required according to contribution type)
  • Abstract in an African language with descriptive heading (e.g., Abstract in isiZulu, Abstract in Xitsonga or Abstract in Afrikaans)
  • Keywords (supply five keywords where required according to contribution type)
  • Body of the text (with sections appropriately organised under headings and sub-headings)
  • Acknowledgements
  • List of supplementary online material (which will be linked to your contribution)
  • References


Format your revised contribution as follows:

  • Manuscripts must be prepared in Microsoft Word using the English (UK) language setting
  • Use Times New Roman 11pt font
  • Single line spacing, text left aligned with normal/default (2.54 cm) document margins with portrait orientated pages only
  • Title in bold capitals, headings in bold, sub-headings in italics (further subdivision should be avoided)
  • Avoid embedded fonts, special formatting, endnotes and footnotes
  • Use only standard abbreviations such as MIS or OSL. Each abbreviation should be spelled out and introduced in parentheses the first time it is used in the text, e.g., marine isotope stage (MIS). Avoid using non-standard abbreviations unless the full term is very long and used often.


Units should conform to the SI convention and be abbreviated accordingly. Metric units and their international symbols are used throughout, as is the decimal point (not the decimal comma). For radiocarbon dates: refer to radiocarbon rather than to C14. Use BP, BC or AD for calibrated dates, but bp for uncalibrated dates. Radiocarbon dates should be accompanied by a laboratory index number and a statement of probable error, e.g., 15 000±500 BP (Pta-456), 2500±100 BC (Pta-789) and AD 200±50 (Pta-123). For non-radiocarbon age estimates of over 10 000 years, use ka and Ma to indicate thousands and millions of years. Spacing and punctuation: use a single space (not two) between sentences; a space before unit terms (e.g., 5 kg, 5 g, 5 cm, 5 km, 5 days); no space before % or ° (e.g., 5%, 23°C, S26°10’), also not before or after mathematical symbols (e.g., 64.7±1.5 ka). Thousands/millions, when not abbreviated by ka or Ma, are marked with a space, not a comma (e.g., 1000, 10 000, 100 000). Ranges are expressed with a hyphen (e.g., 3-5 km).


Use italics for non-English words and bold to emphasise words, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses). Double inverted commas are used for all multi-word direct citations referenced with a page number (e.g., Brown 1999: 45). Single inverted commas are employed when a word is used in a specific manner that may be different to its standard dictionary definition, in a manner questioned by the author, and/or to emphasise a new or previously used term. For example:

  1. “Such ancestry claims are, of course, metaphorical” (Smith & Smith 2021: 20), in the same sort of way bicycles were ‘ancestral’ to early aircraft.
  2. “A combination of multiple lines of evidence is therefore needed to build more-or-less feasible interpretations for the use of either weapon-delivery system” (Smith & Smith 2021: 20). Ideally, such an ‘evidence bundle’ would consist of …

For long quotes (those exceeding three lines or 40 words), please format as follows:

  • Indent the quote 0.5 cm at both the left and right margins
  • It is preceded by the citation (author, year, and page number) and a colon. For example, “…similarly in southern Africa (Smith 2014: 35):…”
  • It is separated from the rest of the paragraph by one free line above and below
  • It does not use quotation marks
  • Text font size, style, and line spacing to remain consistent with the rest of the manuscript (i.e., TNR 11pt font, single spacing).


The Acknowledgments of people, grants, funds, etc. should be brief.


Preparing display items (tables, figures, graphs) 

Tables must be prepared in Microsoft Word, fit within the normal/default (2.54 cm) document margins with portrait orientated pages only, and be embedded in the manuscript at the appropriate place (rather than at the end). Tables should be designed to be as simple and as informative as possible with all lines visible, and no special formatting. Table headings are placed above each table and are numbered according to their appearance in the text. Table headings should be understandable without reading the text of the manuscript. Bulky tables and mass raw data should be uploaded separately as consecutively numbered sections of supporting online material (SOM; submitted in Microsoft Word and/or Excel file format), for example: SOM Table 1, SOM Table 2, SOM Figure 1, or SOM Method 1.


Graphics should be prepared using applications capable of generating high resolution TIFF, JPEG or PowerPoint before pasting in the Microsoft Word manuscript file (the manuscript file should not exceed 15 MB).  Figures and graphs should be embedded in the manuscript at the appropriate place in the text, fit within the normal/default (2.54 cm) document margins with portrait orientated pages only, and be in the appropriate size with captions below the graphics numbered according to their appearance. Figure captions should be self-explanatory without reading the text of the manuscript. Use uniform lettering and sizing of your original artwork. Preferred fonts include Arial (or Helvetica), Times New Roman (or Times), Symbol, Courier. Responsibility for the quality of the figures and graphs lies with the author and not the journal.


Preparing references for an accepted article

Authors are fully responsible for referencing accuracy. Please ensure that all references cited in text are listed within the references at the end of the manuscript. Failure to do so will prolong the production process and cause unnecessary delays.

All citations in the text should refer to:

  • Single author: the author’s name and the year of publication (without initials, unless there is ambiguity, e.g., where two authors with the same surname publish regularly in the same disciplines/years, present as, e.g.., Deacon HJ 1999; Deacon J 1999).
  • Two authors: both authors' names separated by ‘&’ and the year of publication.
  • Three or more authors: first author’s name followed by ‘et al.’ and the year of publication.
  • Personal communications should be avoided, but where unavoidable should be presented as follows: “…assumptions based off the data (Sally Smith pers. comm. March 2022).”

Groups of references should be listed first chronologically then alphabetically, but the same author/s is/are not listed more than once. For example: Many researchers have investigated the use of handaxes (Burke & Jacobs 1994; Johnson 1999, 2013; Blake et al. 2001; Davis 2010a, b).

References should be listed at the end of the paper in alphabetical order using the Harvard system, following the conventions below. Please note that providing DOI links at the end of each reference is optional. Reputable repository links (Sabinet, JSTOR, etc.) can be used in place of DOIs should they not be available, but please avoid links to Academia and ResearchGate. Institutional repository links (e.g., for dissertations and/or theses) can also be provided, when available.

Printed book

Author, A.A. 1994. Title of Book. Third Edition. City of publication: Publisher.

E-book (Electronic book, no digital object identifier (DOI) but with URL, no publisher or place of publication/location is given to e-books).

Author, A.A. 2012. Title of Book. Available from: http://xxxxxx

Author, A.A., & Author, B. 2009. Title of Book. Available from: http://www.xxxxxx

E-book (with DOI from e-book database)

Author, A.A. 2006. Title of Book [EBookCentral]. DOI:12345678

Chapter in printed book

Author, A.A. 2020. Title of chapter. In: Author, A.A. & Author, B.B. (eds) Title of Book: 1-11.

City of publication: Publisher.

Chapter in E-Book (electronic book with Digital Object Identifier/DOI)

Author, A.A., & Author, B.B. 1993. Title of chapter or entry. In: Author, C.C. (ed.) Title of Book: 120-134. DOI: xxxxxxxxx

Journal article

Author, A.A. 2015. My dog and I. Science, 358(6363): 652-655. DOI:1234567.987655

Journal article with two or three authors

Author, A.A. & Author, B.B. 2021. My dog and I. Science, 358(6363): 652-655. DOI:1234567.987655

Journal article with more than three authors

Author, A.A., Author, B.B., Author, C.C., et al. 2021. My dog and I. Science, 358(6363): 652-655. DOI:1234567.987655

Online journal article

Author, A.A. 2015. My dog and I. Science, 358: article number. DOI:123456789

Online website/resource

Author, A.A. 2015 (or n.d. for no date). Title of article/database. Available from: http://www.xxxxxx (Accessed: 2021).  

Doctoral Thesis, Masters Dissertation or Honours Report

Author, A.A. 1994. My dog and I. Masters Dissertation. City: University.

In press journal article

Author, A.A. & Author, B.B. In press. My dog and I. Journal Name.

Reprinted book

Author, A.A. & Author, B.B. Year of original publication. Title of Book. Reprint, City of publication: Publisher, year of reprint.

Conference poster or paper

Author, A.A., Author, B.B., Author, C.C., et al. 2013. Title of contribution. Poster or paper presented at Title of Meeting/Conference/Congress/Symposium, City, Country.

Newspaper article

Author, A.A. (or Unknown Author) 1982. Title of article. Name of Newspaper. 9 November 1982.

Submitted paper (if possible, please avoid citing such works)

Author, A.A. & Author, B.B. Submitted. My Dog and I. Lithic Technology.


Proofing and production of manuscripts

Accepted, revised manuscripts are received by the editorial office where they enter the production queue. The Production Editor will copy-edit and conduct the basic layout, and provide authors with the opportunity to approve the final proof document within seven days. Only minor corrections such as typos and corrections to layout can be made at this stage. No changes can be made after the proof has been approved for publication. Any essential corrections can be published in a subsequent issue as a correction to a published article.