Presentation Formats

CAA 2013 Conference includes several formats for the delivery of content. These are designed to be a specific balance between formal presentations and freeform open discussions. The following text provides an explanation of each presentation format with tips on organization, timing, and content.

Long paper sessions:

Long papers are intended to formally present new and ground-breaking research. They should be limited to 20 minutes in length, and there is 10 minutes scheduled for questions after each one. However, given past experience, the number of minutes available for questions varies dramatically according to the tendency for presenters to go over their allotted 20 minutes, as well as transitions between papers and cancellations.


  • Consider a Powerpoint “show” (*.pps or *.ppsx) format rather than a “presentation” (*.ppt or *.pptx) format. When you double-click the icon it immediately starts your slideset rather than having to open it manually after Powerpoint begins.
  • Use fewer than 30 slides. Although the amount of time each slide should appear on screen may vary widely, any presentation with more than 30 slides generally has a slim chance of keeping to the 20 minute limit.
  • Slides should be readable from a distance and the choice of text/background colors should enhance readability not detract from it. Often black text on a white background is not the best choice, as it may be too bright. Try different combinations.
  • Text presented on a slide should be short and to the point. Bulleted text is usually the best option. Do not just read the text off of your slides. Ideally, bulleted slide text should be your key points but can be used to help keep your speaking on track.
  • Choose images wisely. Good images are the best way of making your point(s) and keeping your audience engaged. Bad images are difficult to explain, hard to see, or may have long unreadable captions.
  • Consider not using large tables or complicated charts; there usually is not enough time for the audience to read them. If you do need to use a table or chart, use color-coding to emphasize and draw focus to the cells or values that are important.
  • If you are concerned about going over your allotted time, then read your paper. It may not be the best way of engaging the audience, but it is an easy way to make specific points but to stay on time. It is far better to read your paper than to lose track of time and not make your point(s) at all.
  • As an audience member, when you raise a question for the speaker consider others who may also have a question – try not to dominate the entire 10 minutes. Also, if the question is highly technical, it may be more appropriate to ask the speaker face to face during a coffee break.
Focus sessions:

A focus session consists of thematically-related 5 minute key-point presentations, an optional discussant to pull the theme together, followed by a room-based breakout organised around posters or demos presenting additional information to maximise networking. Focus session presentations are not ‘short papers’, they are the equivalent of full papers; the majority of which is delivered in a discussion format. The initial 5 minute presentation is intended to be a stimulant for the group or face to face discussions and networking; not to present an entire argument. They will run sequentially without interruption and no questions. They are usually topics that may benefit from getting a group perspective, building contacts, or getting feedback from experts.

In some cases, the focus session may allow up to 7 minutes for the initial presentation where there are fewer participants; but this will be up to the session chair to determine and inform the presenters.


  • Think of the initial presentations as 'elevator pitches': your aim is to identify yourself, to make your key points to the whole audience, and to attract the attention of the people who are really interested in your topic. You don't have to give your whole paper in 5 minutes; in fact you might give none of your paper and just put out a teaser.
  • Slides used in a focus session should be chosen for quick transitions (15 to 30 seconds; but no more than a minute) and should present clear imagery or very short text that is to the point. Consider images that grab your attention and emphasize the point you are making. Use no more than 20 slides – 5 or fewer may be best. Usually, slides presented in this format are not referred to in the presentation, but form backdrops (often allegorical or metaphorical) to what is being said.
  • Additional interaction with the group may consist of presenting data, arguments, or points in a poster, handout, or on a laptop. If you choose to bring a poster be aware that the focus session room may not have a poster board or open wall space on which to post it. A better option is to provide your additional material on a pre-printed handout. We recommend A3 (420 x 297 mm, or 16.5 x 11.7 in) or less in size, and cannot guarantee access to printers immediately before any session – plan ahead!
  • As a speaker, consider how your topic fits in with the others presented in your session, and refer to these connections where possible. This helps stimulate the exchange of ideas. As a participant, consider how the presented topics are inter-related and how your questions may be addressed to more than one of the speakers.

A roundtable is a panel of speakers addressing a specific topic or issue, coordinated by one or more session organizers. Presentations of the panel members will normally be followed by a discussant and general discussion with the audience. This is similar to, but more formal in nature, than a focus session. The panel members will be limited to 10 to 15 minutes for their individual presentation (determined and informed by the session organizer) and may or may not include Powerpoint slides. The discussant(s) will address each of the individual presentations; drawing conclusions and identifying connecting themes. The discussion will then be opened to the audience and be moderated by the session organizer(s). The length of time available for open discussion will depend on the number of speakers, their individual presentations, and the length of time used by the discussant(s).


  • As a panel member, consider using only a few good slides in your individual presentation. Since the focus of a roundtable is to stimulate an exchange of ideas between the panel members and the discussant(s), a formal highly technical presentation is not necessarily the best tool. It may be better to consider it in the same light as a focus session presentation.
  • As a discussant, look for the common themes running through each of the panel member’s presentations and how they relate to your research and experience. You were chosen as a discussant on the basis of your expertise, so be sure to bring that to the discussion in a way that helps the panel members apply it to their own research. Part of the point of the roundtable format is to illustrate the process of scientific exchange for the audience.
  • As an audience member you may not have as much opportunity to participate in the discussion as you might in a focus session; it will depend on how much time is available. However, if you do participate in the discussion, keep your questions focused on the topics under discussion; so as to move the conversation forward and not sidetrack it. Give others the opportunity to speak as well; especially since time may be limited.

A poster session is designed to allow a summary of completed or preliminary work to be presented and discussed directly with the presenter. Normally, posters are intended to be focused heavily on graphics with little text. The intent is for the presenter to stand alongside her/his poster and engage in face to face interactions.


    • Posters will be displayed on double-sided freestanding boards. The surfaces of the boards are fabric-covered and posters can be attached with pins, tacks, or Velcro tape. Although tacks and tape will be provided, take no chances and bring your own as well. The boards are 1.8m wide and 1.2m tall, thereby accommodating posters up to A0 size (1189mm x 841mm) IN PORTRAIT FORMAT ONLY; two poster on each side. Smaller sizes may be accommodated in landscape format.
    • All posters should be printed on high quality paper. When creating the poster layout use a digital output size of A0 or A1 to avoid resolution issues. If you use a smaller size but print it out large, the images and text may be blurry.
    • Avoid using all capitals in your text and do not underline. All caps and underlining is hard to read in more than a short sentence. The following format is recommended:
      • Title – 80pt Arial bold (centred) unless it exceeds three lines (if it does: use a smaller point size or shorten the title)
      • Main headings – 36pt Arial bold
      • Body Text – use at least 20pt Arial justified text. Anything smaller is difficult to read on a poster
      • Captions – 18pt italic
    • Maintain consistency by using the same text sizes and image width on all figures. The less text the better – it is difficult for people to stand at a poster and read an excessive amount of text while the author is standing there waiting to be engaged.
    • Striking images and colorful charts/diagrams will help stimulate discussion and interaction.
    • following link provides a very good discussion on presenting posters:
    • Poster set up will occur on the morning of Tuesday, March 26th, and they must be removed by Thursday, March 28th, by 4pm. No earlier than one week prior to the conference they can be posted to:

         CAA 2013 (Attention of: Jane Fyfe)

         Archaeology M405

         University of Western Australia

         35 Stirling Highway


Posters for which no presenter has paid registration will not be hung.


Workshops are either full or half day sessions led by an expert, or team of experts, and intended to provide hands-on participation in, usually, highly technical training. Specific registration requirements are described under each workshop listing in the program.

Please be aware of all requirements and limits to registration. Some workshops may require participants to bring their own laptops, or may require the downloading and installation of specific software.

NOTE: workshops are held at various venues on campus (e.g. seminar rooms) and NOT at the University Club (the main venue for the rest of the sessions) only March 25th, with the exception of one workshop being held on campus on March 26th.