On behalf of the editorial team I am delighted to introduce this 25th anniversary volume of Papers from the Institute of Archaeology. PIA was first published in 1990 by students at the Institute, in order to provide a means for postgraduate students to gain early experience in academic publishing, both as authors and editors. Over the last 25 years academic publishing, the Institute of Archaeology and postgraduate study have all changed greatly, and PIA has evolved alongside them. Initially a paper volume produced entirely—and laboriously!—in house, PIA moved to its current open access, online-first format in 2011. In an increasingly complex academic publishing landscape dominated by monolithic commercial presses, the continued existence of small, local periodicals like PIA would not be possible without the support of our publishers Ubiquity Press, and their commitment to sustainable open access.
Over its history PIA has also grown from a purely institutional journal to one that is global in ambition, publishing articles from early career researchers around the world. However, in this 25th anniversary volume we have chosen to go back to our roots. All the research papers and reviews in this issue were written by researchers associated with, or alumni of, UCL. Like its eponymous institution, PIA remains global in ambition—the papers in this issue range from Florida to Indonesia—but our aim is to refocus the journal on chronicling and celebrating the world-class research taking place at the UCL Institute of Archaeology.
PIA was founded to help PhD students get a foot on the ladder of academic publishing, and today the expectation that students (even before embarking on their PhDs) publish “early and often” is greater than ever. This is undoubtedly related to unprecedented competition for academic positions at all levels, and this editorial would be far from the first to question whether the traditional model of the PhD as an “academic apprenticeship” is sustainable. What the editorial team thought was missing from this debate was hard data, and so we were thrilled when the foremost “numbers guy” in the study of archaeology as a profession, Doug Rocks-Macqueen, accepted our invitation to contribute this issue’s lead article (formerly the Forum). Rocks-Macqueen’s provocative paper presents quantitative retrospective on the evolving roles of PhD students in academia over PIA’s 25-year existence, complemented by comments from two former PhD students of the Institute: Professor Andrew Bevan, who completed his PhD in 2001 and is currently the Institute’s Graduate Tutor; and Dr Hana Morel, my predecessor as Senior Editor of this journal who received her PhD in 2015.
One area where PhD students are now very active is in the organisation of conferences aimed at students and early career researchers, a number of which have been held at the Institute in recent years. The 2015 editorial team were delighted to see the proceedings of the Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium (EMASS), held at the Institute in 2012 and edited by Tom Williams, through to publication as an additional special issue in this volume. We hope that this will be the first of many student conference proceedings to appear in the pages of this journal.
Papers from the Institute of Archaeology