Home > Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project > Funding a Mediterranean Archaeological Project

Funding a Mediterranean Archaeological Project

One of the most challenging aspects of starting a new archaeological project as a young scholar is finding funding.  From a budgetary standpoint PKAP is a smallish project: at our largest we will host around 20 people, we rarely run our season for more than 5 weeks, and we economize by cooking our own meals, conducting field work before “high season” rates come into effect, and maintaining an absolute minimum of year-around infrastructure (e.g. storage, a car, a residence, et c.).

Despite our precautions, each year is an adventure in uncertainty.  As a project we apply for 3-4 grants a year.  Moreover, each of the directors applies for individual research grants from their respective institutions.  In my case at University of North Dakota, I will apply for 3 or 4 internal grants of various kinds.  So on an average year we apply for 10-12 different grants, each of us contributing to around 6.  This is a time consuming process, but, fun in some ways as it provides a chance to compete head-to-head with other research projects in Cyprus, the Mediterranean, and even across the university. 

The biggest challenge with this annual competition is that in many cases you need to make plans prior to receiving word on the grant (in fact, our season is to begin May 15th, and we still have not heard on three or four major sources of money).  To accomodate this, we are forced every year to handicap our odds with each grant as we begin to make plans.  This is not as fun as, say, picking the teams to make the Final Four in an office NCAA basketball pool.  If we miss estimate our grant dollars, the difference comes out of our pockets.

One way that we have tried to “manage the risk” of the yearly grant lottery is by securing private donor funding.  Archaeological projects have long been attractive for private donors in the same way that funding museums or the arts more broadly holds an eduring appeal.  We can use private donor money in a more flexible way, generally speaking, than grants (which usually have to be used for a rather limited array of project needs), and each year our small pot of private donor funds have helped us fill in the gaps between what we have planned and what we have resources to fund.  The real challenge with private donor money, however, is that, if grants are difficult to handicap, private donor gifts are almost totally unpredictable.  This makes it exciting for us when we get one, but impossible to plan around.

We also fund our project through a modest project fee that we charge our volunteers.  This project fee, which is embedded in their room and board costs, helps fund the kind of infrastructure that all members of the project (senior staff to volunteers) benefit from ranging from rental cars to pots and pans for cooking to power converters. 

At the end of the day, over the past three years, we’ve be very lucky and always been able to pay our bills at the end of the season.  For this we can thank the following funding agencies, grant competitions, and private donors.

2007

  • American Schools of Oriental Research Harris Grant

  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences IUP

  • Department of History, IUP

  • Office of Instructional Development, University of North Dakota

  • University of North Dakota Department of History

  • The Graduate School at the University of North Dakota

  • Senate Scholarly Activities Committee, University of North Dakota

  • Fred & Nancy Caraher

  • Robert & Joyce Moore

2006

  • Kress Foundation

  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences IUP

  • Senate Scholarly Activities Committee, University of North Dakota

  • University of North Dakota Department of History

  • Department of History, IUP

  • Fred & Nancy Caraher

  • Robert & Joyce Moore

  • Elizabeth Reynolds

2005

  • Institute of Aegean Prehistory

  • American Schools of Oriental Research Harris Grant

  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, IUP

  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences Special Project Fund, IUP

  • Office of Instructional Development, University of North Dakota Office of Research and Compliance, University of North Dakota Department of History, University of North Dakota

  • Department of History, IUP

  • Fred & Nancy Caraher

  • Robert & Joyce Moore

  • Elizabeth Reynolds

2004

  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, IUP

  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania Senate Fellowship Grant

  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences Special Project Fund, IUP

  • Department of History, IUP

  • Fred & Nancy Caraher

  • Robert & Joyce Moore

2003

  • Faculty Professional Development Council Grant

  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania Senate Fellowship Grant

  • Department of History, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

 

As a final note, we should mention that our project would not be possible without the logistical and institutional support of a whole range of organizations.  These groups provided us with infrastructure, equipment, or services beyond what could be expected, saving us money, time, and energy and allowing us to focus on our research. 

  • Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute

  • Cyprus Department of Antiquities

  • Larnaka District Archaeological Museum

  • Ohio State Excavations at Isthmia

  • Department of Anthropology, IUP

  • Department of Geography, IUP

  • Department of Geography, UND

 

So, thanks to everyone who has helped us make the past four PKAP seasons a success!!  Keep your eyes here for updates on the project and additional words of thanks as we hear word on our final grants.

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