Student and ECR Research Support Award

Article Index

Program Description

The Society for Archaeological Sciences (SAS) invites applications for the SAS Student and Early Career Researcher (ERC) Research Support Award. This award is designed to support research activities and dissemination conducted by student and early career members, including laboratory and fieldwork expenses, as well as presentations at conferences, symposia and workshops.


  • 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 July 28, 2023 and must be received before the analyses and field research described in the proposal take place.
  • 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 (excluding food supplies).
  • 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 for disseminating the results
    • one recommendation letter from the academic/professional supervisor of the applicant
    • an agreement with the laboratory where analyses will be carried out in form of email correspondence or other written documentation, and/or the applicable 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 Camilla Speller, SAS President (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 $1000 USD per award. SAS has allocated a maximum of $3000 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 worthy proposals are received in a given round, the funds 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 than one year after the award is made to the recipient (not one year after the completion of the project).
  • No redress against the decision of the evaluating 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 supported work. 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

Caitlyn Pallas,  Master's Student, University of Missouri, USA (June 2022). Project: An Archaeometric Analysis of Structural Mortars from the Sanctuary of Venus, Pompeii. Caitlyn’s MA thesis examines the Roman concrete used to construct the Temple of Venus at Pompeii. Concrete construction played a major role in the architectural development of the sanctuary, but to date there has not been extensive analysis of the mortars employed in the various parts of the complex. Caitlyn hopes to discover the composition of the concrete, the aggregates that were used to create the concrete, hydraulic properties of the concrete, the types of concrete used on site and where the different types of concrete were used, and how the concrete evolved both in terms of composition and use at the site from the Samnite period (late 4th c. BCE to late 2nd c. BCE) to the Flavian period (69 CE until the eruption in 79 CE). She will first use Raman microscopy to examine the density and porosity of the concrete used throughout the Sanctuary of Venus. Following this, she will take 30 samples from the sanctuary to analyze at U. of Missouri’s electron microscopy core (EMCore) facility and research reactor (MURR), using a variety of techniques for textural and compositional characterization.

Melissa Cadet,  Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taïwan (June 2022). Project: Copper Metallurgy during the Philippines’ Metal Period: Technologies and Exchanges. Despite the developments of metallurgical research in Mainland Southeast Asia, Island Southeast Asia has for the moment remained little studied, including the Philippines. Copper/bronze metallurgy most probably dispersed through the South China Sea via contacts/exchanges with the mainland but we still have limited knowledge of how, when and why this occurred. This project aims to record and analyze with an archaeometric approach, copper-based objects from the Filipino Metal Period to identify the different post-casting treatments; the different alloying traditions and to discuss the exchange networks with lead isotopy. The data obtained from the scientific analyses will be used to begin discussing the different copper technologies present in the Philippines as well as potential exchange networks with Taiwan but also with other regions of Southeast Asia. The results may also permit discussion about the timing, origin, and pattern of dispersion of the metallurgy in the South China Sea.

Dylan Multari,  PhD student, Macquarie University, Australia (June 2022). Project: Developing a molecular approach to the species identification of plant-based fibres in Ancient Egyptian textiles. The project will focus on exploring novel ways in which ancient textiles can studied to better understand the human past. Current textile fibre identification is performed through the use of microscopic observation, however this technique is potentially limited by textile degradation where diagnostic markers are lost over time. This project aims to apply proteomics analysis, which has been demonstrated to be effective at the species identification of anthropological and zoological materials in the archaeological record, to identify the species of origin for a collection of 26th Dynasty Egyptian burial wrappings, housed in the Nicholson Collection of the Chau Chak Wing Museum, The University of Sydney, Australia.

Ahana Ghosh,  Doctoral student, Archaeological Sciences Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, India (December 2021). Project: From the cradle to the grave: Understanding food processing in the ancient Harappan habitation site of 'Dholavira' and in the burial site of 'Dhaneti. This research examines the ancient food processing and cultural use of vessels by identifying the absorbed lipids inside the ceramic metrics within the Harappan settlement of Dholavira, Rann of Kutch, Gujarat. Further, it compares the obtained results with the identified residues from the vessels used as grave goods from Dhaneti, an Early Harappan burial settlement also located in Kutch, Gujarat. This project peeks into the diet and ritual practices involving ceramics by examining the biomolecular components lying in the lipid residues within ceramics used by the site inhabitants during their lifetime and even seeks for residues inside the ones eventually became part of their grave goods, adding a distinct symbolic value to it. Such analyses allow archaeologists to identify organic materials held and prepared in ancient ceramic vessels and will aid in further understanding economic and subsistence practices associated with the more extensive proto-historic cultural and technological traditions of the Harappans from Dholavira and Dhaneti.

Lindsey Paskulin,  PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia, Canada (December 2021). Project: Biomolecular Insights to Foodways among the Moche of North Coastal Peru. Lindsey’s PhD thesis is centred around the application of shotgun proteomics – a method of ancient protein analysis – for the identification of food-derived proteins in Late Moche and Transitional (600-900 CE) pottery from Huaca Colorada (Peru). Local communities in Jequetepeque Valley, the region encompassing Huaca Colorada, operated within and alongside external political pressures, weaving together internal and external influences across time and space in the creation of local identity. Considering cuisine as one expression of identity, Lindsey’s research seeks to reconstruct past recipes in times of political change through the analysis of plant and animal proteins preserved in ancient pottery. While in Peru, she sampled approximately 30 pottery residues from ceramic vessels at Huaca Colorada. Proteins within the residue samples will be extracted at the ADaPT Laboratory Facility (University of British Columbia) and then analyzed using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. With the characterization of food-derived proteins in ancient pottery, Lindsey seeks to better understand how individual foodstuffs were being actively combined in expressions of cuisine.

Petra Vaiglova,  Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Griffith Center for Social and Cultural Research, Griffith University, Australia (December 2021). Project: New high-resolution technique for investigating human–wild boar interactions. In her project, Petra Vaiglova is developing a new method for integrating dental histological features (i.e., incremental features that enable us to trace the developmental geometry of dental enamel) with fine scaled stable oxygen isotope sequences measured on a Sensitive High-Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP) to reconstruct the life histories of animals from archaeological assemblages. The method will enable us to extract seasonal climatic and mobility patterns from animal teeth at an approximately weekly resolution. The method will be applicable for answering questions of past climatic fluctuations, human–animal interactions, and change of animal feeding patterns through time. Petra is applying this technique to probing the dynamic between humans and animals in Early Neolithic Southwestern Asia.

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