Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment for Archaeological Field Surveys

Archaeological Institute of America

Deadline: November 1, 2024

Announced: By March 1

Amount: up to $4,500

Purpose: The Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment 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.


  • Applicants must be AIA members at the graduate student or professional level at the time of application, with a PhD in archaeology or a related field, and are expected to have an academic affiliation.
  • Applicants should either be the primary permit holder for the project proposed, or 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 should submit a photo and a brief project description (one to three sentences) for inclusion on the AIA website and social media at the time the award is made.
  • Awardees must make 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.
  • 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).

Review the Follow-Up Check List for previous winners.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The AIA welcomes applicants of all backgrounds and is committed to equal opportunity for all. Under no circumstances will the AIA discriminate against qualified individuals on the basis of race, color, religious creed, retaliation, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender, disability, mental illness, genetics, marital status, age, veteran status, or any other basis prohibited under applicable law.

Fieldwork And Families

As part of the Archaeological Institute of America’s ongoing commitment to fieldwork and families, reasonable line items for the care of dependent and elderly family members are allowable expenses for AIA grants, fellowships, and scholarships.


Fellowships Coordinator (Kati Albert)

Application Process

  • Applications should be submitted via the online form accessible below
  • All supplementary documents should be uploaded as PDF files
  • Applicants must prepare a budget using the provided budget template which should be converted to PDF before submission. NOTE: AIA funds CANNOT be used to cover overhead or PI salaries.

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 Endowment
  • 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 Endowment 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



Daniel Plekhov

Portland State University

How do landscapes and changing political powers shape their inhabitants? With a 2024 grant from the Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment Fund, Dr. Daniel Plekhov (Portland State University) and his colleagues will begin a survey project in the southern Municipality of Ulqin, Montenegro to investigate long-term historical change in population distribution across landscape. Dr. Plekhov and his team will partner with the Museum of Local History in Ulqin to complete the first comprehensive map of archaeological and historic sites in the Municipality. Using mapping methods such as drone photogrammetry, remote sensing, and terrestrial LiDAR, as well as surface finds from archaeological sites, the team will document sites dating from early Neolithic period to Medieval structures, to the many states spanning the Roman Empire through communist Yugoslavia. With this deeper understanding of the landscape, Dr. Plekhov and his team will ask questions about why the sites are located where they are, how the people living there responded to the changing political forces over time, and how the historical factors might be influencing current trends in the region’s populations.

Rachel Cajigas
Rachel Cajigas


Rachel Cajigas

University of Alabama

Rachel Cajigas will use the Julie Herzig Desnick Endowment for Archaeological Field Surveys to fund her project, “Exploring Late Archaic Monumental and Household Architecture within a Landscape of Change”. This project proposes to use various cutting-edge subsurface detection methods and archaeological survey to understand the changing use of the Creighton Island Shell Ring site and the surrounding area. It also proposes to use these methods to locate a previously identified structure which may be the oldest habitation structure in North America. This research will enhance our knowledge of Late Archaic monumental constructions in the Southeast US and their relationship to environmental changes due to sea-level rise during the Late Holocene. This novel research uses cutting-edge technology to identify structures within and around the Creighton Island shell ring site. This project will also provide valuable in-person archaeological field and technology training for undergraduate and graduate students.


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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