Graduate Student Paper Award

2018 Graduate Student Paper Award winner Heba Abdelsalam

Graduate students are the future of our profession and contribute substantially to the success of the Archaeological Institute of America’s Annual Meeting by delivering papers based on original research. Through its Graduate Student Paper Award the Archaeological Institute of America recognizes this contribution and encourages outstanding research by students.

Eligibility and General Information
Eligible students are predoctoral students in any discipline related to archaeology who have had a paper accepted by the Program for the Annual Meeting Committee for presentation at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the AIA and who have checked the box on the submission form indicating that they were interested in the award. Accepted papers should then be submitted by email and in their entirety to the Graduate Student Paper Award Committee for consideration for the award. The full written paper along with images must be received by December 1, 2019. In substance and form the paper that is delivered should be the same as that submitted.

Co-authored papers: We encourage collaborative work between students and will consider co-authored papers when all contributors hold student status. We are not able to accept papers with a senior scholar as co-author (anyone holding a PhD at the time of submission) since the committee cannot determine the amount of input from the student author(s).

The written paper and its oral and visual presentation will be judged for (1) originality, (2) concision and (3) delivery. Assessment of the presentation will not be affected either by technological format of presentation or by circumstances beyond the presenter’s control, but rather it will be judged by organization and rhetorical delivery. The selection committee consists of faculty and scholars who are members of the AIA. 

The award will include a certificate of award and a prize consisting of books from multiple presses that exhibit at the annual meeting. The winner will be announced on the AIA website. A letter will be sent to the chair of the academic department at the winner’s institution announcing the award.

Submission Requirements

  • Submissions must be in 12 pt Times New Roman, double spaced, with 1" margins
  • Presenter names should not appear on the submitted paper
  • Allotted presentation time should be included in the document immediately under the paper title
  • Paper length should be appropriate for the time slot allowed (ca. 2 minutes per page is a good rule of thumb). Any paper that exceeds the appropriate length will not be considered
  • Accompanying images must be submitted separately from the paper
  • Co-authored papers are accepted when all contributors hold student status

Text and images should be submitted by email as either a Word or PDF document to

*The 2019 Graduate Student Paper Award Winners, to be honored at the 2020 Annual Meeting, are listed here.

2018 Graduate Student Paper Award: Heba Abdelsalam 

Award Citation:

The Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to present the 2018 Graduate Student Paper Award to Heba Abdelsalam (Middle Tennessee State University).

Ms. Abdelsalam's paper, "Approaches for Protecting Cultural Heritage Sites: Mallawi Museum Case Study" presented a well-researched and creatively designed public archaeology project to reshape entrenched sentiments about local cultural heritage in Mallawi, Egypt (ancient Hermopolis).

Ms. Abdelslalam’s project integrated living history --in the form of actors speaking to visitors at the regional tombs-- with community craft days at the Mallawi museum to showcase the connections between craft traditions past and present, from weaving and basket making to pottery production. Although largely targeting school age children, the blend of approaches reached a broader demographic, including adult business owners. Ms. Abdelsalam's innovative approach circumvented thorny issues of religious identity and ethnicity to focus instead upon the ways in which the ancient and modern communities were connected by agricultural traditions and craft practice. In this way, her work offers a successful model for future outreach programs among local communities.

For her outstanding work in the protection of cultural heritage, one of the core missions of the Archaeological Institute of America, Heba Abdelsalam well deserves the AIA’s 2018 Graduate Student Paper award.


Past Winners of the Graduate Student Paper Award

2017 Chelsea Gardner (First Prize) 
Laure Marest-Caffey (Honorable Mention)
2016 Andrea Brock (First Prize) 
Danielle Smotherman Bennett (Honorable Mention)
2015 Johanna Boyer (First Prize)  
Rachel Kulick (Honorable Mention)
2014 Christopher Hale
2013 Annemarie Catania
2012 Margaret M. Andrews (First Prize) 
Allison Emmerson (Honorable Mention)
2011 Natalie Abell
2010 John (Mac) Marston (First Prize) 
Stephanie Pearson (Honorable Mention)
2009 Marcie Handler and
Panagiota A. Pantou
2008 Stephan Zink
2007 Philip Sapirstein (First Prize) 
Mont Allen (Honorable Mention)
2006 Elizabeth R. Macaulay Lewis (First Prize) 
Nathan T. Elkins (Honorable Mention)

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