Theme for the 2020 Conference

The theme for the 17th Biennial Southwest Symposium Conference is “Thinking Big: New Approaches to Synthesis and Partnership in the Southwest/Northwest.” Paper/poster sessions and forums at the conference will showcase research and perspectives focused broadly on debates that go beyond individual regions, study areas, and typical research partnerships. This includes: 1) work focused on large-scale data compilation and analyses designed to provide new answers to old questions and to generate new questions from old data, 2) research that spans the international border and grapples with the complexities of integrating research traditions and languages, 3) comparative perspectives on research in the Southwest/Northwest helping to place locality based research in a broader context, and 4) frank discussion of the need and prospects for partnerships among tribal, resource management, and academic partners that go beyond typical collaborative research. Across all of these topics, we ask participants to “think big” in terms of the spatial extent of research but also the range of topics and stakeholders that archaeology in the region can serve. What can we learn by breaking down boundaries between traditional research areas and thinking of the Southwest/Northwest as a whole? What are the new avenues for making archaeology relevant and responsive to different stakeholders in the twenty-first century? How can archaeology in the Southwest/Northwest be better integrated into debates in archaeology beyond this region or perhaps even in the social and physical sciences broadly?

Open Call for Abstracts

We are calling for abstracts for individual posters or posters sessions that fit within the conference theme or are focused on any other aspect of archaeology and history in the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest. Check here for more information.


The conference will be hosting an opening reception on Thursday evening, January 30th. The conference presentations and posters will run from approximately 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Friday January 31st and Saturday February 1st. We are also organizing optional excursions for interested people to local archaeological attractions for Sunday February 2nd.

Southwest Symposium Logo Bowl