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.


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 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

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Application Form