Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment Fund for Archaeological Field Surveys

Archaeological Institute of America

Deadline: November 1, 2022

Amount: up to $4,350

The Julie Herzig Desnick Fund provides grants to archaeologists to start new archaeological survey projects. The awards are intended for projects involving field survey on the ground or a combination of field survey and remote sensing methods, rather than those based entirely on satellite imagery or other remote sensing data. Geophysical survey projects are also eligible. While all are encouraged to apply, preference will be given to archaeologists at an early stage in their careers (within 8 years of the receipt of the PhD).

Projects may concern any location in the world and any time period. Each project should make innovative use of technology, and the fieldwork proposed should be designed to address important questions about the human past.

To be eligible, 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. Applicants should also be the primary permit holders for the project proposed; 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).


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 statement of the geographic coverage of the project, including both a verbal description and the coordinates of the corners of a bounding-box that covers the specific survey area; a project title and abstract (no more than 200 words); information about the permits and co-direction (if applicable) of the project; a description of the publication plan; for projects that will generate digital data, a brief data management plan explaining how the spatial or other 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 Herzig Desnick 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 Herzig Desnick Fund supports survey exclusively (no expenses for excavation, conservation, or laboratory analysis). Some examples of allowable expenses: transportation to or at the area of study; lodging and food expenses in the area of study; relevant equipment (GPS receivers, surveying devices, cameras); professional fees; satellite imagery; software licences. 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 what is innovative about the project’s use of technology in relation to the research question
    • 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
  • Copies of the permits and/or authorizations for the project 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 Herzig Desnick Fund
  • The impact the research will have on our understanding of the past
  • 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
  • The impact support from the Herzig Desnick 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 level of innovation in the use of technology
  • 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



Sarah Kennedy

Carleton College

Sarah Kennedy used the Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment for Archaeological Field Surveys to fund her project, Out of the Mine and Into the Furnace: The Ongoing Environmental Impacts of Silver Refining in Peru. The project aimed to establish a rigorous universal survey methodology using portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) spectroscopy for the evaluation of heavy metals in archaeological soils; and to track the introduction of mercury amalgamation technology to the silver refining process in Peru during the colonial period (AD 1650-1800).


Cassandra Koontz Scaffidi

University of California, Merced

Cassandra “Beth” Koontz Scaffidi used the Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment for Archaeological Field Surveys to fund her project, Wari Imperial Expansion and Dissolution: Insights from Pedestrian, UAV, and Isotopic Survey in the Caravelí Valley. The project aimed to examine how the rise and fall of Wari impacted one region in its southern hinterlands, the unstudied Caravelí Valley, Arequipa, Peru.

Read about Cassandra Koontz Scaffidi's experience


Sarah James

University of Colorado Boulder

Sarah James used the Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment for Archaeological Field Surveys to fund her project, The Brač Island Project. The project aimed to conduct the first season of an intensive pedestrian survey, in conjunction with geophysical work and targeted excavation, focusing on three areas that were located but not investigated 25 years ago on Brač.

Read about Sarah James's experience

A. Khaled Abu Jayyab
A. Khaled Abu Jayyab


Khaled Abu Jayyab

University of Toronto

Khaled Abu Jayyab used the Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment for Archaeological Field Surveys to fund his project, an Archaeological Survey in the Middle Kura Valley, Gardabani, Southeastern Georgia. The survey aimed to uncover and document archaeological sites in the region with a special emphasis on the Neolithic (6000-5000 BC) and Chalcolithic (5000-3500 BC) landscapes and settlement systems.

Read about Khaled Abu Jayyab's experience


Jessica Nowlin

University of Texas at San Antonio

Jessica Nowlin used the Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment for Archaeological Field Surveys to fund her project, the Sinis Archaeological Project. The Sinis Archaeological Project aimed to understand the diverse social and environmental factors impacting resource extraction, settlement patterns, and colonial interactions in west-central Sardinia in the 1st millennium BCE through late antiquity.

Read about Jessica Nowlin's experience

Sarah Craft, in Serbia
Sarah Craft, in Serbia


Sarah Craft

Florida State University

Sarah Craft used the Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment for Archaeological Field Surveys to fund her project, the Timok Region Archaeological Project (TRAP). The Timok Regional Archaeological Project sought to situate the Roman imperial palace of Felix Romuliana within a broader geographical and diachronic understanding of the landscape beyond its walls.

Read about Sarah Craft's experience

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