Archaeological Institute of America
Deadline: November 1, 2023
Announced: In February
Amount: up to $7,000
Purpose: The Steinmetz Endowment supports 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.
Proposals will be reviewed according to the following criteria (roughly in this order of importance):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.