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2011 Grants

2011 Grantees

  1. Lori Reed of the National Park Service for her proposal, “Aztec Ruins National Monument Digital Archives Project;”
  2. Gregory Brown for his proposal, “Ingestion of Data from Comparative Archaeological Study of Colonial Chesapeake Culture Project;”
  3. Stephen Mrozowski and Christa Beranek of the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research (University of Massachusetts, Boston) for their proposal, “Fiske Center for Archaeological Research; Application to Digital Antiquity”;
  4. Jennifer Haas of the Great Lakes Archaeological Research Center for her proposal, “Great Lakes Archaeological Center Proposal for tDAR Archiving” (adding four large-scale projects from the northern Midwest to tDAR);
  5. David R. Abbott and M. Scott Thompson of Arizona State University and Cory Breternitz of Paleowest, Inc. for their proposal, “A Digital Antiquity Proposal: Ingesting Digital Data Sets and Project Reports from Soil System, Inc’s Data Recovery at Pueblo Grande, Phoenix, AZ;”
  6. Eric Ingbar of Gnomon, Inc., and Robert G. Elston for their proposal, “Publication of Digital Data from Tosawihi Quarries, Nevada;”
  7. Pearce Paul Creasman and Jeffrey S. Dean of the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research (University of Arizona) for their proposal, “Incorporating Archaeological Tree-Ring Dates and Metadata from the US Southwest into the Digital Archaeological Record;”
  8. Matthew T. Boulanger and Michael D. Glascock of the Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Missouri Research Reactor for their proposal, “Digitization and Dissemination of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Archaeometric and Archaeological Database;”
  9. Stephen Reichardt and Thomas H. Guderjan of the Blue Creek Archaeological Project, University of Texas at Tyler for their proposal, “A Digital Data Archiving Approach to Managing Data from the Ancient Maya Civilization” (data from Blue Creek site, Belize);
  10. Alycia Hayes and Derek Toms of the National Park Service for their proposal, “Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Grant Proposal Award Request;”
  11. Michael Nassaney of Western Michigan University for his proposal, “Digital Storage of Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Data;” and
  12. James Roscoe of the Humboldt State University Cultural Resources Facility for his proposal, “Humboldt State University Cultural Resources Facility; Digital Antiquities Grant Proposal” (records pertaining to archaeology and history of Humboldt County, California).

The original 2011 Grant Announcement.

More information on the current grants program is available on the tDAR news page.

3 January 2011

Digital Antiquity is seeking proposals to fund the archiving of digital objects, specifically archaeological documents, data sets (databases and spreadsheets), and images in tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record), a new international digital repository.  Digital Antiquity grant funds for 2011 will support the direct costs of ingesting existing digital objects into tDAR, including personnel costs to register digital objects, create a set of metadata for each object, and upload a copy of the digital object into the repository.  Digital objects in tDAR are accessible for responsible uses via the tDAR website.  Long-term preservation of the digital objects is ensured through data maintenance and file migration procedures that are part of the functions of tDAR (see McManamon and Kintigh, 2010,SAA Archaeological Record.)

Cultural resource management (CRM) firms, public agencies, individual researchers, universities, colleges, and other organizations are invited to submit brief proposals explaining the value of the information to be contributed.  A wide array of projects will be considered.  We expect to fund some projects that focus on documents, others on data sets, and others on images or combinations of these types of digital objects.  Grants will be awarded in two categories: up to $2,000, and up to $10,000.  We anticipate making approximately 40 awards.

Review of proposals will begin 25 February 2011 and will continue until funds are committed.

Why Use tDAR?

Professional ethics, public laws, and regulations require that archaeological collections and associated records, including digital data and documents, be made available for scientific and educational purposes.  These digital records, like the physical remains and records also must be preserved for use in the future.  Much of the archaeological record now exists only as collections and data from investigations undertaken prior to the destruction of in situ sites or portions of sites.  Access to and preservation of these archival parts of the archaeological record is especially important since there is no alternative source of information.

The tDAR repository has been established to achieve two basic goals:

  • to ensure the preservation of these digital records for future generations, and
  • to provide for appropriate and easy access to these records at present and in the future.

The repository provides the means to organize and manage digital archaeological data for a variety of purposes.  Contributors can protect information that should remain confidential and provide access to archaeological information for which public availability is appropriate.  Used in these ways, tDAR can assist contributors, agency managers and others in meeting their responsibilities for accountability, data management, public outreach, and resource preservation.

tDAR provides a stable web-accessible location where researchers can publish and make available archaeological documents, datasets (databases and spreadsheets), images, and other digital objects for colleagues and other researchers.

Through its “search” and “browse” functions, tDAR allows researchers and other interested users to identify and easily access archaeological information from geographic locations or on particular topics.  The ability to access existing data and documents is essential for comparative research and future information synthesis.  In addition, tDAR includes special data integration tools that enable researchers to develop comparative studies of data sets.

Users may utilize the digital information they find in tDAR, provided that they properly credit the creators of the data and include appropriate citation for the digital objects they use in any subsequent publications.  Users also must agree to refrain from any use of the information that would result in damage or destruction of archaeological resources.

In tDAR contributors can deposit several kinds of archaeological digital objects:

  • documents in PDF formats, e.g., reports of archaeological field investigations, collections and historical research,  and historical documents about archaeological resources, research projects, and organizations;
  • spreadsheets in Excel formats and databases in Access formats that describe archaeological data sets about artifacts, features, sites, or other archaeological phenomenon; and,
  • images and illustrations in JPEG or TIFF formats of archaeological resources or related to archaeological investigations.

Future versions of tDAR will expand the range of digital objects that can be ingested and preserved in the repository to include data files about archaeological resources collected by various sensors, e.g., GPS, resistivity, GPR, LiDAR, and other instruments.

Guidelines for Proposals

Digital Antiquity grant funds for 2011 are intended to fund the direct costs of ingesting existing digital objects into tDAR, including personnel costs related to registering digital objects, creating a set of metadata for each object, and uploading a copy of the digital object into the repository.  Funds for staff effort needed to coordinate acquisition and organization of digital objects from sources at different locations are allowable.  Proposals for funding synthetic or integrative efforts using tDAR content will also be considered.

In all cases, digital data that are contributed to tDAR through the grant program must be documented as completely as possible using tDAR’s web-based ingest forms.  Potential applicants are encouraged to experiment with tDAR’s ingest interface ( while developing proposals.  At present, Digital Antiquity is waiving ingest and curation fees to allow for this experimentation and encourage use.

Proposals should focus on the ingest of content already available in digital formats, although a case for funding of limited digitization might be made in exceptional cases.  While tDAR has the capability to accommodate data that are confidential (e.g., detailed information about specific site locations) or that are temporarily embargoed (e.g., pending publication), grants will only fund the ingest of digital objects that may be made publicly available by the end of the grant.  Proposals that leverage Digital Antiquity grant funds with matching funds or contributed effort are encouraged.  Leveraged proposals may include digitization accomplished using external resources.  For example, an agency or CRM firm might commit its own funds to digitizing (into full-text searchable form) a series of reports but seek a grant funding to assist in creating metadata and uploading the files to tDAR.

No indirect costs, overhead, or profit will be supported by the grants.

Online guidance (help and tutorials) and email and telephone technical support for the ingest process will be provided by Digital Antiquity.

Grantees will not be expected to pay Digital Antiquity’s ordinary digital curation fees.  Grants are not available for newly funded projects, which should provide for payment of their own digital curation fees.


Proposals should include two to four pages of text describing the proposed project, how it will be carried out, and how it addresses the evaluation factors listed below.  Proposals should include an itemized budget and a narrative explanation and justification of no more than one page.

Proposals that include the use of additional outside resources must attach documentation of a commitment to matching funds or contributed effort.

Review of proposals will begin 25 February 2011 and continue until funds are committed.  Decisions regarding grants are expected to be made by early April.

Projects must be completed by 31 December 2011.

Questions regarding the proposals should be addressed to, or in a voicemail to Grants Manager, Digital Antiquity at 480-965-1369.

Proposals should be submitted by email to:

Evaluation of Proposals

Each proposal will be evaluated with respect to two factors:

  • its impact in demonstrating value to the core constituencies of tDAR users (archaeologists and other researchers in CRM firms, public agencies, universities, colleges, and museums and cultural resource managers in public agencies);  and,
  • its fiscal effectiveness in terms of the number and value of digital objects to be added to tDAR for the amount of funding sought in the proposal.

Impact. Factors contributing positively include:

1.  Geographical or thematic coherence. Geographic or thematically based projects that will add to tDAR digital objects of general interest to future users of tDAR will be evaluated favorably.  To the extent that there is relatively comprehensive coverage of an area or theme, tDAR‘s value for management, public interpretation, and research is enhanced.  For example, a thematically oriented project might contribute to tDAR a large number of digital objects related to a specific site type that would enable resource managers to make evidence-based compliance decisions concerning the types of sites likely (or not) to yield certain types of important archaeological features or remains.  Another kind of project would be for an agency or CRM firm to make widely available the results of a large and high profile archaeological project.

2.  Breadth of audience interest. Information resources that would be of interest to a range of users (e.g., digital objects that have received a substantial attention in the published archaeological literature, but have not been widely available; or digital objects related to famous archaeological sites) will help build the tDAR user base. Agencies or other organizations may be interested in proposing projects that demonstrate their contributions to research questions of broad scholarly and public interest.  Proposed projects might add to tDAR digital objects related to archaeological resources associated with special topics, such as, the initial peopling of North America, the early development of agriculture, or the growth of markets, industries, or urban centers during the historic period.

3.  Within-project integration of multiple types of digital objects. Proposals that contribute different types of digital objects (i.e., documents, data sets, and images) related to the same or similar archaeological investigations will be favored.  Also, projects demonstrating the archival capabilities and the management and research advantages of such integrated curation will be ranked higher.  For example, burial grounds often yield a variety of digital objects, including data sets recording artifacts and biometrics, digital images, and documents describing the archaeological investigations, related oral histories, and other archival documents.  Some of the objects related to such sites may be subject to repatriation, so that the only records that remain publicly available are in digital format.

4.  Cross-project integration. Proposals that demonstrate the integration of resource management and scientific research across archaeological projects will be considered favorably.  Such cross-project integration is especially encouraged for documents and data sets that have previously been isolated due to jurisdictional or institutional separation.  Similarly, data sets that can be shown to have a strong potential for “across-dataset” integration with existing tDAR data will be favored.  Proposals that would create new or enhanced management capabilities or that are likely to lead to new insights or conclusions will be ranked favorably.  For example, to improve historical context and National Register eligibility assessments, a project could register a number of digital objects from an environmentally and culturally cohesive region.  Similarly, syntheses enabled by tDAR could address important archaeological issues, such as regional settlement patterns, adaptive ecological responses, or demographic change and thus contribute to SHPO and agency resource interpretation or management efforts.

Fiscal Effectiveness. The fiscal effectiveness of a grant is a judgment based on the expected impact of the number and/or quality of the digital objects contributed by the project to tDAR and the amount of Digital Antiquity funds requested in the proposal.

In evaluating fiscal effectiveness, we will consider the likely impacts of a proposed project as a whole (including the products expected from any matching funds and contributed effort) compared with the amount of funding requested from Digital Antiquity.  Budgets will be evaluated on the efficiency with which the Digital Antiquity-funded effort is planned.

Time estimates for activities related to uploading documents will be available  in the “How to Use tDAR” section of the tDAR web pages.  The time needed to upload and fully document databases varies tremendously depending on the number of tables and columns and how they are encoded.


In addition to a list of digital documents, data sets, and/or images that are added to tDAR, each funded project will be required to provide a brief final report documenting:

  • the actual effort applied (a set of activities for which time records are to be kept will be provided by Digital Antiquity),
  • the amount of content added to tDAR, and
  • management innovations
  • knowledge-generation achievements.

Information from these reports will be appropriately attributed, but may be used by Digital Antiquity at its discretion.


Grants will be awarded in two categories: up to $2,000, and up to $10,000.

We anticipate making approximately 40 awards with the funds available.

Awards will be announced as they are made with initial announcements expected around the beginning of April 2011.