Archaeology ALIVE logo

Page 1 of 4


References are probably the most important concept you will meet in university. They are the unit of currency of academic research, and without them your work will lack all value. A reference is usually made up of six elements. In this section each element will be discussed in turn. At the end you will have the opportunity to try some examples yourself.

1. The Author's Name - The first part of a reference is the author's surname, followed by their initials. Sometimes the surname is given in CAPITALS or in bold print, but it is not necessary to do so. For example:

Marshack, A . 1972. Upper Palaeolithic notation and symbol. Science. 178, 817-828.

If there are two or more names given, it means that the book or article has been written jointly, by several authors. The first name to appear is always the 'lead author', and it is this name that determines where the reference will appear in any alphabetical list.

White, T.D. , Suwa, G. , Asfaw, B. 1999. Australopithecus ramidus, as new species of early hominid from Aramis, Ethiopia. Nature. 371, 306-312.

Occasionally, if there are more than three co-authors, your tutor may truncate the name section after the lead author, adding the words et al. in italics. Et al. is short for the Latin phrase et alia and simply means and others.

White, T.D. et al. 1999. Australopithecus ramidus, as new species of early hominid from Aramis, Ethiopia. Nature. 371, 306-312.

2. Year of Publication After the author's name comes the year in which the book or article was first published. Occasionally an author may have had two articles published in the same year. In this case, the convention is to use letters to distinguish the articles. You don't have to know the exactly when in the year each article was published, but once you have decided upon a sequence, you should stick to it. For instance:

Foley, R. 1987a. Another Unique Species: Patterns in Human Evolutionary Ecology. London: Longman.

Foley, R. 1987b. Hominid species and stone tool assemblages: how are they related?. Antiquity. 61, 380-392.

3. Title Following the year of publication, there follows the title of the article or chapter. Sometimes this is placed between inverted commas, but it is not necessary to do so. If the title belongs to a book - in other words the reference applies to the whole of a book, rather than just a chapter - then the title is treated as the 'source' (see below).

Gamble, C. 1986. The Palaeolithic Settlement of Europe. Cambridge: University Press.