I just got back a decision and reviews on a paper I submitted to the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology on November 4 (2009). I am flaggergasted - this is a turnaround time of 5.5 weeks! Amazing! I am used to journals in anthropology and archaeology taking many months to evaluate a manuscript. Well, those artifacts are hundreds or thousands of years old, so what difference do a few months make, one way or another?
A couple of years ago, a manuscript of mine took almost two years to review by a regional journal that will go unnamed (they lost the reviews, and I had to send the journal a copy of one review whose author had sent me a copy of their review as a courtesy!). A colleague just published an important paper in a somewhat obscure journal because they could review it right away--after Current Anthropology sat on the manuscript for nearly a year! After bugging a European colleague for along time that he should publish a paper in English in a U.S. journal, he finally submitted a manuscript, and the review process took over a year!
So, a big hat's off to the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. Not only did they get me a reply very quickly, but their perceptive reviewers zeroed in on three issues that I thought might be problematic but, but decided (for various reasons) to skim over without elaboration. My paper is a "revise and resubmit," and I will be able to get the revision done and submitted in a shorter total time (from initial submission) than most archaeology journals take to get a single round of reviews completed.
How long until paleoanthropologists must deposit data upon submission?