Scholars need to share their research result with the rest of the academic community, but also with the public. Other than writing articles, the best way to do that is to give lectures specifically for members of the public who are interested in archaeology (often held at museums, universities and community centres) as well as for other scholars, by presenting papers at conferences.
General Public Lectures & Talks
Members of the public are absolutely fascinated by archaeology and many archaeologists like to present their work to people in their community. Very often, these lectures are organised by a local museum or university, or even an association interested in archaeology. Such lectures are very interesting (and often free), and you might have the chance to talk to a real archaeologist and ask questions! Find out if these kinds of lectures for the general public are offered in your region. You might like attending… and if the archaeologist is a good public speaker, s/he will make sure that you can understand what they are talking about by not using technical terms or presenting a subject so scientific that nobody gets it except other scholars.
Scholars gather in large groups at various conferences and symposia across the world to share their research results with other specialists in the field. Local and international conferences are a great way to share your views on a specific topic and have other people give you feedback. You can talk to people who share similar interests or debate with someone else who sees the issue differently.
Attending international conferences, whether you are presenting or not, is a great way to meet famous scholars (whose books you might have read) and make new friends. It is also a very good way to get yourself noticed. Introduce yourself to people by telling them how much you liked their presentation or how valuable their work is to your own research. Personally, I love those conferences because I plan extra travel time to see the historical sites of the city or country where the event is held. That’s why there are sections in the Photo Diary that have nothing to do with my excavation work… they are the places where I attended a conference and travelled a bit afterwards.
When presenting at a scholarly conference, speakers will often be asked to submit a written version of their presentation so that it can be published in what are called “conference proceedings.” The editors of the proceedings generally require that the written paper be submitted before the conference or within a limited time period after it. All submitted papers are edited and put together in a book, each paper treated like an article within the book. Note, however, that not all conference papers are published.