AIA-NEH Grants for Archaeological Research


Archaeological Institute of America; Funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Deadline: October 15, 2021

National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are excited to announce a new AIA-managed competitive grant program to support individuals conducting archaeological research around the world. The AIA-NEH Grants for Archaeological Research will provide multiple small grants for traditional fieldwork and also for post-fieldwork studies that are essential for the creation of comprehensive publications but are often unfunded. The program will benefit a wider selection of excellent projects, help to fill a funding gap at lower to medium levels, and broaden the impact of NEH funding by providing financial support to more projects.

Applicants for the AIA-NEH Grants for Archaeological Research do not have to be AIA members but must be U.S. citizens or residents of the United States for the three years preceding their application submission. They may be working in any region of the world or time period, provided that their projects have a demonstrably humanistic core of methods and goals; answer humanistic questions; and are of significance to the Humanities (e.g., historical archaeology, classical archaeology, art historical archaeology, epigraphy, etc.). 

For those considering applying we are including NEH’s definition of “humanities” below:

“The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of the social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.”
National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended

Awards will be available to persons holding a Ph.D., or an equivalent degree or commensurate experience, including both junior scholars (7 years or fewer post-Ph.D.) and senior scholars (more than 7 years post-Ph.D.).

The program offers two types of grants:

1. Small grants up to $15,000 for post-fieldwork research and publication preparation for projects having a crucial need for post-fieldwork study that will lead to publication. The activities that qualify for these grants are study seasons that might involve travel to collections, ground-truthing, etc.; laboratory work, such as radiocarbon dating, archaeobotanical analysis, etc.; documentation that might include artifact illustration, work with GIS or databases, etc.; and research on “legacy data” from unpublished projects (defined as data from a project unpublished at least 10 years after the completion of fieldwork), leading toward final publication. Publication subventions are not, however, eligible for these grants.

2. Larger grants up to $50,000 for fieldwork. Fieldwork grants will be ideal as seed money for new or experimental projects, as partial funding for a project with additional but insufficient sources of support, or for a project that can run on a modest budget. “Fieldwork” is defined mainly as excavations and traditional pedestrian surveys, though alternative types of survey, such as geophysical, geospatial, or ethnoarchaeological, will be considered.

The grants described above will be awarded to individuals. The term of the grant will be one year. Recipients may request that their institutions administer the grant on their behalf but grant money cannot be used for indirect costs or institutional overhead. Independent or adjunct scholars without institutional affiliations or support should consult with a tax specialist before applying for an individual award.

Projects will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. the significance of the project to the humanities, in particular humanistic research in archaeology;
  2. the applicant’s abilities and qualifications, relative to their peers;
  3. the proposal’s clarity of expression; and
  4. the project’s feasibility, design, budget, and work plan.

Awardees will be required to submit a final field/study report within 6 months of the project’s completion. The report should include the final budget reconciliation and an explanation of how grants funds were used. Awardees are encouraged to submit an abstract for either a paper presentation or a poster at the AIA Annual Meeting within two years of the end date of the grant.

Read about the 2020 winners here.

Application Form


Ben Thomas

AIA Director of Programs

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