Student and ECR Research Support Award

Program Description

The Society for Archaeological Sciences (SAS) announces a new, more flexible, research funding program to support the work of its student and early career members during the COVID-19 pandemic. The SAS Research Support temporarily replaces the existing Student Research International Travel Award and a Postdoctoral Conference Travel Award that was to have debuted in 2020. In light of most in-person conferences, symposia, and workshops being postponed or canceled, we have decided to channel the budget that was originally allocated for the two above travel awards to a more flexible research funding scheme to cover laboratory and fieldwork expenses.


  • The applicants must be either graduate students (Master's or Doctoral) or early career researchers. In the latter case, they must have been awarded their PhD within the previous eight years at the time of application. Exceptions may be made for the applicants with a career break, such as but not limited to parental leave, long-term illness or disability, or national service. The circumstances for exceptions must be clearly indicated in the application.
  • The award is only open to graduate students and early career researchers who are current dues-paid members of The Society for Archaeological Sciences at the time of application.

Application Procedure

  • Applications for the award should be submitted by 20 June 2022 and must be made before the analyses and field research take place.
  • An application should consist of
    • a standard curriculum vitae of the graduate student/early career researcher,
    • a (max.) two-page proposal describing the research objectives and methodology, the justification of budget, and plans of disseminating the results, and
    • one recommendation letter from the academic/professional supervisor of the applicant. Eligible expenses for this award include laboratory analytical fees and consumables, software licenses, imagery and geospatial products, delivery costs (for mailing the samples through reliable couriers), fieldwork and research travel expenses, including transportation and accommodation costs and consumables for field research (excl. food supplies).
  • Applicants should provide an agreement with the laboratories where the analyses will be carried out in form of email correspondence and/or other written notifications, or the relevant permits indicating that you are allowed to carry out field research.
  • Applications should be addressed to the SAS President ( and sent via e-mail as combined pdf (with the following order: CV, research proposal, additional documentation) to the SAS General Secretary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Reference letters must be sent directly to the General Secretary by the relevant deadline. Potential applicants may contact Evangelia Kiriatzi, SAS President-elect (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), for further information.

Evaluation Procedure

  • Proposals will be evaluated by a committee selected by the President of The Society for Archaeological Sciences, including, if necessary, suitable referees chosen from the membership of the Society.
  • The committee evaluates the eligibility and merit of the application for support of the candidate. The criteria used will be the record of the candidate, the letter of recommendation, and the scientific merit and potential career impact of the proposal. The amount granted is determined by the committee, according to funds available, but shall not exceed $500 USD per award. SAS has allocated a maximum of $1500 to each cycle of this funding program
  • At least one award will be given to a graduate student and one to an early career researcher for each round of competition. However, if we only receive applications from graduate students for a specific round, all three awards will be granted to graduate students, and vice versa. In case no outstanding proposals are submitted to a specific round of competition, the fund allocated will be repurposed for the next round.

Terms and Conditions of the Award

  • The successful applicant is committed to submitting a brief summary of the results of analyses and/or field investigation to the SAS Bulletin no later within one year after the award is made to the recipient.
  • No redress against the decision of the committee is possible.
  • The award will be made in advance of the applicable research, but the awardee must send copies of all relevant receipts to the General Secretary of The Society for Archaeological Sciences within one month of the conclusion of the event. If the awardee submits receipts that sum to a total less than the amount awarded by the Society, then the awardee is obligated to return the difference to the Society at the time of receipt submission.
  • Failure to comply with these terms and conditions will result in the renunciation of the award, including the return to The Society for Archaeological Sciences of the full value of the funds dispersed and a ban on the awardee from future participation in all awards and competitive opportunities sponsored by the Society.

Awardees of The Society for Archaeological Sciences Student Research Support Award

Dr. Nicolás C. Ciarlo, Early Career Researcher, National Scientific and Technical Research Council - CONICET, Argentina (August 2021, ). Project: New insights into the European mid-17th century gun founding practice: analyses of scrap bronze cannons recovered from the cargo of a Dutch merchant vessel sunk in Cadiz, Spain. This research is focused on the characterization of an array of mid-17th century scrap bronze cannons recovered from the Delta III site, identified as a Dutch merchant ship which sank in Cadiz, Spain. A metallurgical examination of the quality and manufacturing process of the remains will be conducted. Combining archaeological, historical, and archaeometric data, this study will provide novel information to assess the functioning of melting furnaces, the technical factors underlying failed casting, and the knowledge of the properties and behavior of cast copper alloys available at the time. This will shed light on early modern European gun foundry and recycling practices.

Ian Nathaniel Roa, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, USA, (August 2021) Project: The Cultural Effects of Animal Ritual Use and Sacrifice in Maya Lowlands. In the ancient Maya world, animals played a fundamental role in mythology and religion, and their symbolic value meant that animals were agents rather than items for subsistence. Animals were also important in ritual and political activities for the Maya, where they were consumed at feasts and left as offerings at altars and in burials. This project uses oxygen (δ18O) and carbon (δ13C) stable isotope analyses of enamel to reconstruct movement and diet of animals from ritually significant contexts to examine ancient animal engagement. While δ18O values represent ecological conditions present where the animals originated, δ13C reflect the total diet of the individuals. Specimens represent seven taxa, ranging from dog to crocodile from four sites in the Belize River Valley of western Belize, providing a regional perspective on human-animal engagement. The ritual contexts include burials, caches and other special deposits that span the occupational history of the Belize River Valley from more than 1500 years from the Middle Preclassic (900-300 BC) to the Terminal Classic (AD 750-900/1000). The results will address hypotheses about whether these animals were traded along distances, fed while in captivity, and shed light on ritual activity during critical transitions in Maya prehistory in the Belize Valley. 

Irini Sifogeorgaki, PhD Student, Leiden University, Faculty of Archaeology, Netherlands, (August 2021) Project: Geoarchaeology at Umhlatuzana Rock Shelter, South Africa. Umhlatuzana rockshelter (KwaZulu Natal, South Africa) is one of the few sites with a sequence spanning the Middle to Later Stone Age transition (∼40–20 ka). This project employs geoarchaeological techniques, with a focus on micromorphological analysis, to shed light on the events and processes that concluded in the creation of the site. With the SAS support, I will visit the Wiener Lab in Athens, and with the assistance of Dr. Karkanas, I will solve outstanding geoarchaeological questions related to post-dispositional processes (e.g., phosphate mineral formation, bioturbation activities, dating issues). The results of this research will be of great archaeological significance and will be published in open-access peer-reviewed journals.

Awardees of The Society for Archaeological Sciences Student Research International Travel Award

The 2020 award cycle was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sean W. Hixon, Anthropology, University of California at Santa Barbara. Feb 2019. Title: Past Species Introductions, Aridification, and Megafaunal Extinction in Madagascar. This project evaluates how past aridification and the subsistence behavior of both colonizing humans and introduced species (e.g. cattle and goats) in SW Madagascar contributed to a period of declining endemic species biodiversity. Archaeological and paleontological excavations and then radiocarbon dating and isotopic analyses of target specimens will test hypotheses regarding the timing of past species introductions, overlap in the diets of past introduced and endemic herbivores, and the drought tolerance of past herbivores.

Ana Franjić, UCL Institute of Archaeology. Feb 2018. My doctoral project, entitled Iron Age Glass Technology in South East Europe, examines glassmaking and glass use on the territory of present-day Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the first millennium BCE. The project undertakes a comprehensive scientific study of the technological recipes and styles of glass items occurring in the given period, in order to map the relations between the various communities inhabiting the region as well as patterns of prehistoric trade and exchange networks on a larger scale. Preliminary SEM-EDS and EPMA analyses have indicated a few potential technological groups circulating in the area during the Early (Hallstatt) and Late (La Tène) Iron Age. The SAS award helped me conduct LA-ICP-MS analysis of my samples at the Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University. The powerful detection limits of this instrument allowed me to quantify the sand-related trace elements, which are highly informative of the provenance of the raw materials used in glass production. The high resolution of the newly acquired data should allow me to trace the source of the glass, as it will enable me to link the geochemical fingerprint of the studied glass beads to one of the few primary glass workshops operating in the Mediterranean. Ultimately, the results of this work will contribute to our broader understanding of glass use in Iron Age Europe.

Gertrude B. Kilgore, Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Textas Tech University. Feb 2017. Title: Household Identity and Domestic Activity Areas in Courtyard D-4, Chan Chich, Belize. This study will conduct an intensive study of the functional, social, and cultural meanings of the architectural and non-architectural spaces in Courtyard D-4, a possible Late Classic (AD 600-810) household approximately 550m east/southeast of the Main Plaza. Chemical analysis of soils and plaster surfaces in will be used to delineate different activity areas by studying the levels of phosphate in samples.

Elizabeth Velliky, Department of Archaeology, University of Western Australia / Institut für Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie, Universität Tübingen. Feb 2016. Title: Identifying anthropogenic modification on archaeological ochre materials by early hominin populations. This project involves the identification of anthropogenically modified ochre pieces from Middle and Upper Paleolithic contexts at Hohle Fels in southwestern Germany. The aim of the project is to observe the behaviors of ochre and pigment use at the site over time, as well as to investigate ochre acquisition, preference, and manipulation by ancient hominin populations. The results of the project will provide information on the symbolic and cultural behaviors of hominins during the Middle to Upper Paleolithic periods in Central Europe.

Kuan-Wen Wang, University of Sheffield. Feb 2015. Title: Scientific Analysis of Early Iron Age Glass Beads from Taiwan. This project involves chemical analysis, through SEM-EDS and EPMA, on 1st millennium AD glass beads from sites in north-eastern, southern and eastern Taiwan. The results will establish chemical groupings in the region to indicate potential social interaction, both regionally and chronologically, and help elucidate prehistoric trade/exchange networks in the South China Sea region in the transitionary period from the late Neolithic Age to the early Iron Age.

Eric Guiry. September 2014. This research will produce a stable isotope baseline for a key North American livestock production center with the aim of: 1) providing critical contextual data for interpreting broader linkages in historical meat-trade routes across the continent; and 2) reconstructing animal husbandry practices during the early industrialization of hog farming.

Michelle Eusebio. Feb 2014. Title: A Sojourn into the Foodways of Prehistoric Southern Vietnam. This research investigates foodways in Neolithic and Metal Age Southeast Asia through the chemical analysis of food residues obtained from earthenware pottery. The objectives are to identify food items prepared and/or served in a variety of ceramics, as well as to establish key biomolecular markers based on a modern comparative reference collection, which is helpful for the identification of different foodstuffs. See the report of this project in SAS Bulletin Fall 2014

Katy Meyers. Feb 2014. This award provided the opportunity to conduct a research trip in England to collect primary data for my PhD dissertation. My research examines the presence of multiple forms of body treatment at death during the Early Anglo-Saxon Period in England. This era that dates from the mid-5th c to the late 7th c CE is characterized by its high levels of variation due to diverse cultural interactions between the Post-Roman Britons and incoming Northern European immigrants.See the report of this project in SAS Bulletin Fall 2014

Nicolás C. Ciarlo, September 2013. Title: Archaeometallurgy of the cargo of an early 19th century British Navy ship lost off Catalonia, Spain. This research is focused on the metallurgical examination, mainly by means of LM and SEM-EDXRS, of the cargo recovered from an early 19th century British Navy ship lost off Catalonia coast (Spain), with the aim to determine the characteristics of manufacturing processes of large quantities of naval artifacts, and thus to shed light on the technical changes related to a period of increasing industrialization in England. See the report of this project in SAS Bulletin Summer 2014.

Robert J. Stark, September 2012. Title: The Skeletons of Isola Sacra and Velia. This research examines Roman migration and group diversity through isotopic and nonmetric trait research. Using the skeletal remains from the cemetery of Portus, known as Isola Sacra, my research will seek to provide a context for identifying group affinities and points of migration into Rome, ca. 1st–3rd c. AD. See the report of this project in SAS Bulletin Winter 2014.

Michele Stillinger, February 2012. Project goal is to clarify the chronology at archaeological sites in the Near East region during the 10th through 8th century BCE by using the recordings of the Earth's magnetic field preserved within Bronze and Iron Age ceramic artifacts to obtain absolute ages for these objects. See the report of this project in SAS Bulletin Winter 2012

Kyle P. Freund, February 2012. This project studies the exchange and use of obsidian in southern Italy during the Neolithic (ca. 6,000-3,500 B.C.) as a means of shedding light on the processes involved in the spread of agriculture into the western Mediterranean around 6,000 B.C. This will be achieved by combining portable X-ray fluorescence (pxrf) sourcing analysis with techno-typological data. See the report of this project in SAS Bulletin Spring 2013