Grants

The Ellen and Charles Steinmetz Endowment Fund for Archaeology

Archaeological Institute of America


Deadline: November 1, 2022

Amount: up to $5,500

The Steinmetz Fund will support the use of technology in archaeological research by providing grants to archaeological projects that make innovative use of technological tools and methods. Normally, such projects will have a fieldwork element. However, research conducted in a laboratory setting that employs technology may also be eligible for a grant. While all are encouraged to apply, priority will be given to new projects proposed by 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, but must be designed to address important questions about the human past specifically through technological means. “Technology” should be understood broadly to include not only digital tools and approaches, but also those developed in engineering, chemistry, biology, physics, etc. The Steinmetz Fund will provide a total award of up to $5,500.

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. 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.

Contact:

Ben Thomas

bthomas@archaeological.org

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 Steinmetz 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 Steinmetz Fund is intended to provide particular support for technology, so expenses for excavation, survey, 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 Steinmetz 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 Steinmetz 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

Recipients


2022

Laura Harrison

University of South Florida

Laura Harrison used the The Ellen and Charles Steinmetz Endowment Fund for Archaeology to fund her project, Geoinformatics Technologies for Digital Heritage Preservation and Climate Risk Assessment at Egmont Key, FL. The project aimed to gain insight on how to preserve Egmont Key, which has been eroding into the Gulf of Mexico, submerging three historic sites, and endangering Battery McIntosh, a 1901 Spanish-American War fort. The project used an innovative combination of lidar and GIS, to document Battery McIntosh’s overall state of preservation for the first time, and model the projected impacts of NOAA’s sea-level rise scenarios on a low-lying site. The insights from this project hoped to empower stakeholders to take action to save Egmont Key through targeted beach renourishment. In addition, the digital dataset was protected, preserved, and archived to enable continued research on Battery McIntosh, even if the site itself cannot be saved.


2021

Jared Benton and Christy Schirmer

Old Dominion University and The University of Texas at Austin

Jared Benton of Old Dominion University and Christy Schirmer of The University of Texas at Austin used the The Ellen and Charles Steinmetz Endowment Fund for Archaeology to fund The Urban Economy of Volubilis Project: Lithographies of Workshop Technologies. The project used a number of methods to conduct petrological analyses on stone technologies from workshops in the Roman city of Volubilis in Morocco. Such methods include optical petrography and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy to help identify the possible source of the stone used for these objects and how far they travelled to arrive in their workshops. The project hoped to reveal details about the relationships between local bakers, neighboring craftsmen, stonemasons, and merchants, situating them all in their broader industrial networks.


2020

Elizabeth Cory Sills

University of Texas at Tyler

Elizabeth Cory Sills used the The Ellen and Charles Steinmetz Endowment Fund for Archaeology to fund her project, Detecting Invisible Salt Workshops: Comparing Chemical Signatures at the Placencia Lagoon Salt Works, Belize. The project used chemical soil testing at the Placencia Lagoon Salt Works, Belize to detect concentrations of chemical elements that allow the identification of activity areas and habitation (during the ancient Maya Classic period, AD 300-900). The project offered an exciting means to detect otherwise “invisible” salt making structures especially in places that lack preserved wooden architecture that is found at the Paynes Creek Salt Works.


2019

Kate Liszka

California State University, San Bernardino

Kate Liszka used the The Ellen and Charles Steinmetz Endowment Fund for Archaeology to fund her project, The Wadi el-Hudi Expedition. The project required a technological tool to help rapidly finish surveying the standing architecture, rock inscriptions, and other archaeological remains at the ancient fortified settlements and mines in Egypt’s Eastern Desert. This was due to the imminent destruction of the archaeology of this area by new gold mines and the expiration of the project’s permissions to enter the area in December 2019. In order to address this urgent need to preserve the area, the project used the Steinmetz grant funds to develop a technique for ground-based photogrammetric survey using multiple cameras mounted on poles and Agisoft Photoscan.


Danielle Riebe

2018

Danielle Riebe

The Field Museum of Natural History

Danielle Riebe used the The Ellen and Charles Steinmetz Endowment Fund for Archaeology to fund her project at the site of Esztár-Fenyvespart in Hungary.  The project aimed to utilize a revolutionary compositional technique for analyzing the ceramic and lithic assemblages from the Late Neolithic (5,000-4,500 BC) at the Herpály site, Esztár-Fenyvespart, on the Great Hungarian Plain. The Steinmetz grant was used to fund a portable laser ablation device that gathered microscopic samples of prehistoric ceramics for transport back to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois for further analysis. Compositional analysis of the ceramics from Esztár-Fenyvespart helped to illustrate how connected the site was to other Herpály sites, and potentially to Tisza settlements, on the Plain. The portable laser ablation device is cutting edge technology that is likely to become an essential tool for archaeologists in the near future.


João Cascalheira, in Mozambique

2017

João Cascalheira

University of Algarve

João Cascalheira used the The Ellen and Charles Steinmetz Endowment Fund for Archaeology to fund his project, Ballistic performance of Upper Paleolithic stone-tipped projectiles: an assessment using computational fluid analysis.  The project aimed to contribute to a better understanding of the reasons behind variability and evolution of Upper Paleolithic stone-tipped weaponry, while focusing on projectile performance analysis through Computational Fluid Dynamics. 3D scans of the most representative point Upper Paleolithic types and subtypes were used to perform numeric analysis of wind-tunnel simulations to characterize aerodynamic performance and assess how shape and size changes influences flow parameters.


2017

Kristina Killgrove

University of West Florida

Kristina Killgrove used the The Ellen and Charles Steinmetz Endowment Fund for Archaeology to fund her project at the site of Oplontis.  The project aimed to examine 54 previously unanalyzed human skeletons from the villa site of Oplontis to investigate the effects of catastrophic environmental change on people’s lives during the time period of 62-79 AD. This Steinmetz grant funded the 3D modeling portion the project. The project also sought to digitally preserve this cultural heritage through 3D scanning and photomodeling, and to share the results with researchers and the general public.


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