Advancing Archaeological Science

About US

Mission: Fostering synthesis in archaeology to expand knowledge and benefit society.
Vision: Expanding knowledge of the past to shape a more secure and just future.
Strategic Plan: Available here.

Research Priorities: Available here.

The Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis (CfAS) is an alliance of Partner organizations and individual Associates who are committed to fostering synthesis in archaeology to expand knowledge and benefit society.  CfAS partner organizations provide their expertise, services, and facilities in support of the synthesis initiatives of CfAS. CfAS Associates are individuals who support the goals and programs of the Coalition. The goals of CfAS are to:

Advance Knowledge Rapidly advance knowledge through analysis and synthesis of existing archaeological and related data to address critical challenges in order to influence policy and benefit the public

Develop and apply methodological and theoretical approaches that are effective in integrating multiple, diverse data sources

Provide computing solutions to enable networked scientific collaboration by leveraging innovation and leadership in informatics

Promote skills, knowledge and collaborative culture among archaeologists and allied scientists, policy-makers and resource managers necessary for this transformative research and to speed its real-world application

Communicate results in ways that advance the discipline and affect public policy

Why a Coalition?

Archaeologists have diligently discovered, documented, analyzed, and curated our collective past. However, this rich store of data has untapped potential beyond documenting the histories of numerous human societies. Archaeological data can be used to expand scientific understandings of human social dynamics, redress injustices of the past, empower descendant communities, and aid the formulation of solutions to contemporary problems.

Collaborative synthetic research, as practiced in ecology and many other sciences, has been a powerful driver for advancing interdisciplinary science. For collaborative synthetic research to be accepted throughout archaeology and for its results to impact society at large, the practice must become routine and institutionalized. The Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis (CfAS) does this using an established, working group framework to tap the knowledge and creativity of archaeologists and archaeological organizations worldwide.

Additional background on the rationale behind and the vision of the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis is available for download in a brief brochure in English (ou en français) and two articles, Fostering Synthesis in Archaeology to Advance Science and Benefit Society (Altschul et al., 2017) and Fostering Collaborative Synthetic Research in Archaeology (Altschul et al., 2018).


The Coalition for Archeological Synthesis (CfAS) operates under the organizational umbrella of the not-for-profit SRI Foundation. It consists of Partner organizations and individual Associates who support the goals and programs of the Coalition.  CfAS is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the Partners that operate under bylaws established by the Council of Partners. The Board consists of officers (two Co-presidents, a Secretary and a Treasurer) and two directors from each category of Partner organizations (Professional Organizations, Cultural Heritage Firms, Academic Units, Governmental Organizations, Non-governmental Organizations, and Archaeological Informatics Providers). In March 2023 the Board of Directors approved a strategic plan to guide our efforts.

The Center for Collaborative Synthesis in Archaeology (CCSA)

CfAS works closely with the newly established Center for Collaborative Synthesis in Archaeology, a center within the University of Colorado’s Institute of Behavioral Science. The collaboration of CfAS and CCSA is defined by a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the University.

  • Works to build community among researchers interested in pursuing synthetic research on long-term human social dynamics;
  • Builds bridges between researchers working on the same problems in archaeology and in related fields.
  • Provides leadership and logistical support for collaborative archaeological research, including assisting in the preparation of grants proposals and administering grants that are developed by CfAS or joint CfAS-CCSA initiatives