SAS Bulletin
Volume 19 Number 1/2 January /June 1996

Report from the Chair for Electronic Communications

In 1991 the Society for Archaeological Sciences set up an electronic-mail network for archaeometry, SASnet, which was run by Foss Leach at the National Museum of New Zealand. SASnet was established to discuss archaeological applications of methods from the physical sciences and to provide rapid communication among archaeometrists and archaeologists. It's intended to provide a resource for archaeologists who need access to technical expertise and a forum for physical scientists to discuss the development of archaeological applications of their methods. News about relevant current events, seminars, publications, and employment is welcome.

This spring, at Foss's request, I assumed responsibility for SASnet and moved the mailing list to the University of Wisconsin's mail server. Although they might not be readily visible to SASnet users, several changes were made to the structure of SASnet. As before, mail to SASnet is distributed to everyone on the entire mailing list. One significant change is that replies to SASnet messages no longer go just to the individual who posted the original message, but to the entire mailing list. This change was made to facilitate active and on-going electronic discussion. A second change is that SASnet is now open to those who are not members of the Society for Archaeological Sciences, but who have an interest in archaeometric issues. This open-door policy is intended to increase interaction between archaeometrists and those not trained in physical sciences but who need access to archaeometric expertise. Although this change has not been broadly announced, I am actively soliciting the participation of archaeologists, as well as geologists, chemists, and others who are not (at the moment!) SAS members, but who may have considerable interest in archaeometry and, hopefully, in the SAS as well.

Those who have much experience with electronic mailing lists are familiar with some of the problems (e.g., "spams" and "flame wars") to which they are prone. A significant aspect of SASnet, however, is that it is configured as a "moderated" list. I.e., all mail to SASnet is screened before forwarding it to the entire list. While appropriate discourse is distributed without alteration or delay, irrelevant advertising, unduly abusive messages, and mail sent to SASnet by accident can be returned to the sender without being sent to the entire list.

Instructions for joining (or leaving) SASnet have also changed. To subscribe, send the following command: "subscribe SASnet " via e-mail to the list server address: A list of instructions will be sent to you with your subscription confirmation. If you would like a listing of available user commands, send an e-mail to: The contents of your e-mail should contain one word: "help."

Thanks to the courtesy of the University of Wisconsin's Department of Information Technology ("DoIT") and the Department of Anthropology, the Society now has space available on the university of Wisconsin computer system for web pages. I am setting up some web pages for the SAS at These include some e-mail links to the SAS membership, to archaeometric facilities, publications, and other resources. I have tried in these pages, for the most part, to keep "Netscapisms' to a minimum so that the documents correctly appear on a wide variety of computer systems and web browsers. If anything appears to be strange (other than perhaps my home page) or if links are not working, please notify me and include information on how you are viewing the pages.

Also, if you are a SAS member and your e-mail address is not on the membership list but you wish it to be, please contact me. Any other questions, concerns, or comments about either SASnet or the SAS-WEB pages should be sent to my e-mail address below. Feedback on both will be appreciated.

James Burton, Associate Director, Laboratory for Archaeological Chemistry, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison WI 53706-1393, USA; tel: 608-262-4505; fax: 609-265-4216;

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