Charlie Kolb photoThe Society for Archaeological Sciences (SAS) will offer one award every year for the best published paper on science-based archaeological research in ceramics in honor of Charles C. Kolb. The purpose of the award is to promote and acknowledge research excellence in the field of archaeological ceramics and highlight the key role of interdisciplinarity.

The award was established to honor Charles C. Kolb, a life member of the SAS for over 30 years, and dedicated editor of its Bulletin, for his intellectual contributions to ceramic studies, his significant role in communicating and transferring knowledge through his comprehensive reviews, and his continuous efforts to support new scholars.


Papers nominated for the award should be:

  • peer-reviewed and published (online, digitally, or in print) in a journal or edited volume
    during 2023
  • written in English
  • authored by early career researchers (first author for multi-author publications). Early career researchers include graduate students or researchers awarded their PhD within the previous eight years at the time of application.

Assessment Criteria

All nominated papers will be assessed by a panel appointed by the SAS Executive Board, including at least two independent scholars, established experts in ceramic studies, and one serving or former member of the SAS Executive Board. The assessment of the nominated publications will be made by the evaluation panel primarily based on:

  • Innovation and originality of the research
  • Methodological contribution and/or advancement of innovative theoretical frameworks
  • Impact or potential impact on the field of archaeological ceramics/regional archaeology

Submission and Nomination

Papers can be nominated for the award upon being accepted for publication in a journal or edited volume. Nominations for papers accepted for publication or published within 2023 should be submitted by 20 January 2024.

Nominations can be submitted by the author (if single-authored) or the corresponding author (if multi-authored). Nominations can also be submitted by SAS members and/or journal and volume editors for papers they deem to be well-aligned with the assessment criteria, provided they have the written approval of the author (if single-authored) or the corresponding author (if multi-authored).

Nominations should include:

  • the “Charles C. Kolb Award for Archaeological Ceramics 2023 - Nomination Form” filled in
  • a digital copy of the actual paper (as accepted for publication, including any additional material submitted), and
  • in the case of chapters in edited volumes, a proof of acceptance for publication following peer review (email notification or other means sent by the editor or publisher).

A copy of the nomination form responses should be forwarded to the SAS General Secretary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) along with a digital copy of the paper and proof of acceptance.

The results will be announced in early summer 2023. The winning article will be widely promoted and the author/s will be highlighted by The Society for Archaeological Sciences. The corresponding author (on behalf of all the authors) will receive a prize of USD $500. All authors will receive a free one-year membership to the SAS.

Award history


Winning paper: "The shaping of social and symbolic capital during the transition to farming in the Western Mediterranean: Archaeological network analyses of pottery decorations and personal ornaments”, PlosOne online at Authors: Daniel Pereira (CNRS, Université de Bordeaux), Claire Manen (CNRS UMR5608 TRACES. Université de Toulouse Jean-Jaurès), and Solange Rigaud (CNRS, Université de Bordeaux). The award committee noted that the paper was an original and rigorous piece of work that applied network analysis in an exciting new way. The comparison between two archaeological proxies, personal ornaments and pottery decorations, provided fresh insight into the strength and quality of social ties among the Mediterranean’s early farmers, showcasing new applications in ceramic studies.


Winning paper: “Investigating the function of late-Neolithic “husking trays” from Syrian Jazira through integrated use-alteration and phytolith analyses”, J. Archaeol. Sci. Rep. online at Authors: Sergio Taranto (Department of Classics, Sapienza University of Rome), Marta Portillo (Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Spanish National Research Coucil), Anna Gómez Bach (Department of Prehistory, Autonomous University of Barcelona), Miguel Molist Montaña (Department of Prehistory, Autonomous University of Barcelona), Marie Le Mière (Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée), Cristina Lemorini (Department of Classics, Sapienza University of Rome). The award committee noted that the paper was a ‘very fresh and exciting piece of work that sheds new light on Neolithic culinary practices in the Near East. It advocates a truly interdisciplinary approach and reflects an extremely robust methodology, involving the excellent integration of well-designed and well-implemented experimental work.  It integrates many sources of evidence, in a very informed way, including use-wear evidence, phytoliths and experimental data to shed light on different aspects of neolithic life in the region’.

Honourable mention: “Origins and Distribution of Hellenistic and Late Republican Transport Amphorae in the Dalmatian Region and its Implications for Adriatic Trade and Economy”. Archaeol. Anthropol. Sci. online at Authors: Maja Miše and Patrick Sean Quinn (Institute of Archaeology, University College London). The award committee also wanted to acknowledge this paper with an honourable mention, noting ‘This is an excellent example of a mature piece of scholarly work of great significance for the archaeology of the region and period. Although it combines a standard approach in current ceramic provenance studies, its application is exceptionally rigorous and robust, and the contextualisation of the scientific results extremely well-informed, reflecting a deep understanding of the material under study and the employed methodology. It provides a model for analogous studies’.


Winning paper: "Investigation of Provenances of Early Islamic Lead Glazes from Northern Central Asia using Elemental and Lead Isotope Analyses", online at Authors: Catherine Klesner (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ), Virginie Renson (Archaeometry Laboratory, Research Reactor Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO), Yeraly Akymbek (Laboratory of Archaeological Technologies, Institute of Archaeology Named A.Kh. Margulan, Almaty, Kazakhstan), David Killick (School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ) The award committee noted that the paper is 'an excellent example of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of ceramics for understanding the human past. It integrates many sources of evidence, including scientific, archaeological and historical, and it never loses sight of the people while analyzing the material, as Charlie Kolb himself would have put it! Moreover, the paper makes a significant contribution to the archaeology of the wider region.'

Recommended for the Adjudication Process:

  1. The chair of the Award committee will be appointment by the SAS Exec board before January. The chair should be a member of the SAS, and either be a serving or former SAS Exec board member, or someone who has served for at least two years as a member of the Kolb Award committee.
  2. Papers are compiled by the Award Committee Chair by the end of January each year. The chair initially reviews the nomination forms and papers to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria.
  3. Papers are distributed to the Award Committee initial review. Each paper is initially read by only two members of the committee, ideally by Mid-March 2024. Each pair of reviewers submits their top four ranked papers to the Committee Chair.
  4. The Committee Chair compiles the rankings, and distributes the top 8 ranked papers to all the members of the Award committee for their review.
  5. The Award Committee completes their review and meets in an online meeting to decide on the winner and honourable mention (if deemed appropriate) (May).
  6. The winners of the Kolb award are ideally announced at the SAS AGM in May or June.