The Kathleen and David Boochever Endowment Fund for Fieldwork and Scientific Analyses

Archaeological Institute of America

Deadline: November 1, 2022

Amount: up to $4,000

The Boochever Fund will support both fieldwork and laboratory research informed by new technologies. While the fund’s primary purpose is to help defray the start-up costs of new projects, archaeologists exploring innovative applications of new technologies in any stage of their work are welcome to apply. Projects proposed by archaeologists who are at an early stage in their careers (within 8 years of receipt of the PhD) will be given priority.

Projects may concern any location in the world and any time period, but must be designed to address significant questions about the human past through the use of state-of-the-art technology, understood broadly to include not only digital tools and approaches, but also those developed in engineering, chemistry, biology, physics, etc. The best proposals will make use of emerging or experimental technologies, or will apply existing technologies to archaeological research in new ways. The fund will support research activities such as regional or site survey, geophysical prospection, remote sensing, exploratory excavations in both terrestrial and maritime contexts, or innovative laboratory analyses. The Boochever Fund will provide a total award of up to $4,000.

Applicants must be AIA members in good standing at the time of application, with a PhD in archaeology or a related field, and are expected to have an academic affiliation. If the project requires a permit, applicants should also be the primary permit holders; if the applicant is not the primary permit holder, the application should be accompanied by a letter of support from the primary permit holder. Awardees must have the permit in hand before funds will be disbursed.

Awardees will be expected to submit a photo and project description for inclusion on the AIA website at the time the award is made, as well as a formal report to the AIA at the conclusion of the award period. This report should include a brief illustrated summary, written for a general audience, that can be published on the AIA’s website. It is expected that the research results will be published promptly according to a plan approved by the AIA, and awardees are expected to submit poster or fieldwork abstracts for presentation at the Annual Meeting (submissions will be evaluated in the general pool, and acceptance is not guaranteed). For projects that generate digital data, publication of the dataset is especially encouraged, ideally in an open-access format.


Ben Thomas

Application Process

Submission should be made through the online form available on the AIA website. This form will require professional information about the applicant; a verbal statement of the geographic coverage of the project, with geographic coordinates if appropriate; a project title and abstract (no more than 200 words); information about the permits and co-direction of the project (if applicable); a description of the publication plan; if the project involves digital data, a brief data management plan explaining how the data collected will be maintained, shared, and archived; a statement of the applicant’s qualifications to carry out the project (no more than 500 words); and a bibliography of no more than 10 relevant works.

The applicant must also provide a detailed, itemized account of the full project budget, with the expenses to be covered by the Boochever Fund specifically described and explained and other sources of funding identified. NOTE: AIA funds CANNOT be used to cover overhead or PI salaries, and the Boochever Fund is intended to provide particular support for activities informed by emerging or experimental technologies, including site and regional survey or exploratory excavations involving innovative use of such technologies. Other expenses such as those related to conservation or basic logistics will be viewed less favorably. Some examples of preferred expenses: travel or room and board for project members working with technology, equipment or instruments, specialist or consultant fees, software licenses, laboratory fees. The budget should be prepared using this template and uploaded as a separate document through the online application form.

The applicant should also prepare the following separate documents, to be submitted as attachments through the online application form:

  • The applicant’s CV, and the CVs of any co-directors (no more than three pages per CV)
  • A project description of NO MORE than three pages (single-spaced), including:
    • A statement of the question(s) the project seeks to address and of the importance of the question(s) for our understanding of the human past
    • An explanation of the project’s research design and methodology, with a clear statement of why technology is critical for that research and why the project’s use of technology is particularly innovative
    • A brief explanation of the timeline of the project’s activities, with any additional budget explanation that is not apparent from the budget form
    • A statement of the project’s expected outcomes
  • If permits are required for the project, copies of the permits and/or authorizations OR, if the permits have not yet been granted, an explanation of how and when the permit will be obtained, together with any supporting evidence (letters of support from foreign partners or agencies, etc.)

Proposals will be reviewed according to the following criteria (roughly in this order of importance):

  • The fit between the project and the mission of the Boochever Fund
  • The impact the research will have on our understanding of the past and on the use of technology in archaeology
  • The level of innovation in the use of technology
  • The feasibility of the project itself (how realistic its methods and goals are, in conjunction with its budget and timeline)
  • The possession of, or the documented ability to acquire, the necessary permits (if applicable)
  • The impact support from the Boochever Fund will have on the overall success of the project (we assume that few projects will derive all their support from this source alone)
  • The qualifications of the applicant (training, demonstrated research productivity, knowledge of/experience in the research region)
  • The quality and feasibility of the publication plan, and (if digital data are involved) of the data management plan

Application Form



Vanessa Muros

University of California - Los Angeles

Vanessa Muros used The Kathleen and David Boochever Endowment Fund for Fieldwork and Scientific Analyses to fund her research at the Ancient Methone Archaeological Project in Greece. The project investigated the efficacy of two low-tech methods, UV Induced Visible Fluorescence (UVIVF) examination and the Raspail microchemical test for plant terpenoids, to identify organic residues in archaeological ceramics excavated from Ancient Methone (Pieria, Greece). The two techniques were tested on laboratory made ceramic tiles coated with four organic materials, three plant resins and a wax, that have been previously identified in archaeological ceramics from northern Greece and the north Aegean. The results of the experiments on both unaged and aged coatings will then be used to test vessels with visible residue or staining excavated from Ancient Methone. These techniques could be used on their own to characterize traces of organic residues in pottery or incorporated into a larger residue analysis project to help reduce the number of vessels needed for sampling or narrow the focus of the investigations.


Katherine D. van Schaik

Harvard University (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School)

Katherine D. van Schaik used The Kathleen and David Boochever Endowment Fund for Fieldwork and Scientific Analyses to fund her research at London and Bournemouth, UK. The project investigated bone lesion formation on using samples obtained from 32 skeletons from the 18th-19th century British Royal Navy, and integrated epigenetic data, advanced imaging analysis of fracture patterns and bone integrity, and traditional osteological analysis to identify the epigenetic mechanisms that underlie heterogeneity in frailty and selective mortality, specifically those associated with fractures and bone repair. The project was the first to bring together these modalities into one study. Findings provided explanations for heterogeneity in frailty with regard to bone structure and integrity and a model for how such work might be conducted with reference to other bone lesions.


Caroline Cheung

Princeton University

Caroline Cheung used The Kathleen and David Boochever Endowment Fund for Fieldwork and Scientific Analyses to fund her research at Pompeii, Ostia, Morgantina, and Cosa in Italy. The project examined ceramic storage vessels, many of which feature ancient repairs executed in metal. The study employed gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) to identify organic residues and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to identify metals in these storage vessels. Results helped researchers understand that these vessels contained, whether certain buildings such as shops used these pots for specific goods, whether there was mixed storage, and whether these vessels contained different contents during their use or were reused. Identifying the metals led the team to understand the value of the vessels and repairs, the processes in forming the repairs, and potentially the identity of the mender.

Brian Martens
Brian Martens


Brian Martens

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Brian Martens used The Kathleen and David Boochever Endowment Fund for Fieldwork and Scientific Analyses to fund his research at the Athenian Agora in Athens, Greece. The project used innovative scientific techniques to trace the sources of marble used by sculptors at Roman Athens. Archaeometric analyses (electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, stable isotope analysis, and X-ray diffraction) of samples from thirty-eight statuettes from the Agora were conducted. Documenting the sources of marbles used at Athens offers the possibility to reconstruct trade networks, and in turn produce a fuller panorama of the making and diffusion of art throughout the Roman-period Mediterranean basin.


Alison Carter

University of Oregon

Alison Carter used The Kathleen and David Boochever Endowment Fund for Fieldwork and Scientific Analyses to fund her research at Angkor Wat, Cambodia. The project sought to identify an ideal method for undertaking soil chemistry analysis on occupation surfaces. Using a pXRF, in situ soil samples were taken and exported for analysis using ICP-OES and pXRF in a controlled laboratory setting. These different methods were compared to identify the most accurate measurement of elements in anthropogenic soils that can then inform researchers about potential activity areas on the house mound. The study aimed to provide a controlled comparison of different soil chemistry methods while also expanding our understanding of the daily lives of Angkorians.

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