The SAF Selection program recognizes individuals and organizations that have achieved distinction in innovative, creative, and rigorous works, and generated new knowledge about our human past, which has significant relevance to the contemporary world and our common future. It aims to promote excellence and innovation in archaeological research by advancing the public awareness and appreciation of archaeology in order to protect and preserve the world’s archaeological resources and cultural heritage, and by encouraging international collaborations and partnerships among scholars and publics from different countries.




The nomination and selection of major archaeological field-discoveries and research findings for the SAF will be made on a biennial basis. The nominated work must be original and directly derived from legal and scientific archaeological excavations or surveys or other rigorous archaeological research. The nominations will be reviewed and adjudicated by the Selection Committee according to the highest international standards of excellence and impartiality. The principal investigators of the selected nominations will be invited to the biennial Shanghai Archaeology Forum for a public presentation of their research.




The SAF Selection program is made in two categories: major archaeological field-discoveries and major research findings which may be based on, although not themselves primarily comprising, fieldwork; no more than ten selections are made for each category. The former selection will be made for the archaeological excavation or survey that yielded major discoveries significantly furthering or even altering our knowledge of the human past, locally and/or globally. The latter selection will be made for the archaeological research that is based on rigorous studies on specific subjects and/or laboratory and scientific analyses. It may be a comprehensive and multi-year research project, or a major breakthrough in theory, method or technique, or a groundbreaking work of synthesis based on mostly updated archaeological findings.