NEH has supported work in every period, culture, and area of the United States, from analysis and publication of Paleoindian materials from Hell Gap to the excavation of a Chinese mining camp dump in Pierce, Idaho. NEH-funded projects in Americanist archaeology include Cynthia Irwin-Williams's excavation at the Salmon Site (1970-1978), Stuart Struever's study of agriculture and animal use in Illinois (1975, 1977), Dale Croes's work on Paleoindian occupation at Hoko River (1981-1988), Dean Snow's Mohawk Valley Project (1984-1991), Kathleen Deagan's work at St. Augustine (1978, 1982) and La Isabela (1992, 1995), and John Broadwater's investigation of the York River Fleet shipwreck (1979-1992). Projects in Mesoamerica and South America include George Kubler's work on the art of Tikal (1970-1972), John Hyslop's investigation of the Inka road system (1981, 1983) and site planning (1985, 1987), Thomas Charlton's work on Aztec state formation at Otumba (1988, 1991), and George Cowgill's study of human sacrifice and society at Teotihuacán (1990, 1995).
The distribution of projects is primarily in five world areas:
|Area||No. of PIs||Grants||Outright $||Matching $|
|Classical & Preclassical||68||161||$2,772,563||$5,710,850|
|South America||13||20||$ 431,594||$ 310,045|
No single approach or discipline characterizes the projects or participants: they are as diverse as the current universe of archaeologists. In 30 years of project grants, project directors have come from the following disciplinary departments:
|Department||No. of Grants|
However, the money exists (presumably). If you don't apply, you won't get funded. If archaeologists do not apply in large numbers, the odds in favor of continued funding for archaeology will be considerably reduced. To improve your chances of getting funded, do the following:
1. Call the program officer, John Meredith, (202) 606-8218, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and ask for the guidelines, the latest information on the budget, and an explanation of the evaluation process.
2. Look at a successful grant in your field. Ask for the list of funded projects for the last three years, select an appropriate project, and have John Meredith send you the proposal.
3. Seek the advice of colleagues who have received NEH grants.
4. Write a preliminary draft of your proposal and have it read by the program officer (John Meredith) and/or a friendly but critical colleague, preferably one who has served on a panel, reviewed grants, or received a grant. Pay close attention to the guidelines and elements for evaluation when writing your proposal.
5. Don't ask for too much money. Ask John Meredith for advice on how much to ask for. If you are asking for federal matching funds, try to get your donors lined up in advance. It makes a good impression. However, remember, it is not necessary to have the matching money before you apply for the grant: you only need to identify potential donors and sources.
6. Write your congressional representative to express your opinion about funding for research in the arts and humanities.
7. And remember to vote.
Bonnie Magness-Gardiner is a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution and can be reached at BonnieMG@aol.com.