The Future of Funding for Archaeology

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Funding for archaeological research from governmental and philanthropic sources is becoming scarcer. Philanthropy is becoming results-driven, moving away from basic research and increasingly into short term projects. At the same time, costs for archaeological research are increasing, reflecting upward shifts in living costs at emerging economies and costs of analytical research. This session will address three questions through papers from established funders and innovators pursuing alternative funding models. First, what are the drivers of this new environment and how will impact-oriented philanthropy affect funding for archaeology? Second, how are established funders responding to these trends and how do they see the future of funding for research? Finally, does the experience so far with alternative funding approaches suggest that they are able to replace sources in decline.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-9 of 9)

  • Documents (9)

  • Basket Case? Finding Funding for Archaeological Projects—A European Perspective (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Robert Bewley.

    The competition for funding is increasing, as demand increases but the sources of funds diminish, especially if there is a research element in any proposed project. This paper will explore the possible routes for funding and the potential and pitfalls of using a "basket" approach to raising funds for archaeological projects in the public sector (i.e., charities and non-commercial), including universities. It will also look at different approaches for funding significant heritage-based projects...

  • The Benefits of B Corps for Building Sustainable Social Enterprises in Archaeology (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Ashley. Chris Webster. Ruth Tringham.

    Within the slender margins of academic archaeology, our funding options are extremely limited. The accepted pathways to sustainability have been institutional support (the academy) or starting a nonprofit. In both cases we all must battle over an ever shrinking grant and philanthropic pool. The alternative is to go for-profit, which has historically meant to become a CRM firm. In the past few years, Benefit corporations (B Corps) have become an international movement for individuals and...

  • Crowdfunding, Crowdsourcing and the Collaborative Economy: Old Wine/New Bottles, or Genuine Game Changer for Archaeology? (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brendon Wilkins.

    DigVentures was launched in 2012 as a rewards-based crowdfunding platform designed to enable participation in archaeology and citizen science projects. We were formed by a small team of archaeologists, driven to action by what we saw as the three most pressing needs affecting our sector: the necessity for heritage professionals, museums and cultural organizations to reduce dependence on grants and state funding; the development of digitally enabled alternative finance models that diversify...

  • The Framework for National Science Foundation Funding of Archaeological Research (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Yellen.

    National Science Foundation funding for archaeological research is driven by several factors some internal and others external to NSF. The Foundation is an agency of the federal government and the amount of money authorized for expenditure and strictures on how it is to be allocated is determined by a multifaceted process which involves the Foundation itself, the President and multiple House and Senate congressional committees. Thus for each annual budget appropriation cycle uncertainty is...

  • Funding "The Human Story" at National Geographic (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christopher Thornton.

    For over a century, the National Geographic Society has provided field research grants to archaeologists and anthropologists from around the world, and then told their story through our media. Over the past few years, National Geographic has gone through a tumultuous period of financial instability and schizophrenia between the non-profit and for-profit arms. The new joint venture created with 21st Century Fox in the Fall of 2015 created a fully non-profit National Geographic Society with a...

  • The Hidden Costs of Archaeology (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Willeke Wendrich.

    Archaeologists have realized for a long time that in the struggle to fund field work, working on publications and the cost of publishing archaeological results are often not covered. With the increase in digital recording and digital publishing this problem is not solved. On the contrary, it is exacerbated by a number of additional tasks and responsibilities. These range from a changing publication model, where open access is becoming increasingly important, and journals request payment to make...

  • Market Economy Solutions to Funding (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ran Boytner. Danny Zborover.

    Traditional funding structure to support archaeological research consists of grants from public or private organization or donations from individuals, public or private entities. But as these traditional sources are shrinking their allocations for basic research in general, and for the social sciences in particular, archaeologists can harness the power of the market and find market solution to funding of research. This paper will examine one such case—the institution of field schools and the...

  • Value and Impact: The New Philanthropy and Funding Archaeology (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Peter Gould.

    In an era of globally declining government funding for culture, including archaeology and heritage, the philanthropic sector will loom increasingly important to funding this discipline. Major philanthropic organizations and individual philanthropists increasingly are seeking to define and measure the impact of the causes they fund. That "impact" may be social, economic, political or cultural, but in all cases the essential element is a set of clearly defined impact metrics. This change in...

  • Wenner-Gren Foundation Funding for Archaeology (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mark Aldenderfer. Leslie Aiello.

    Over the past 15 years the Wenner-Gren Foundation has received approximately 3,000 applications for research funding from archaeologists (students and established scholars) and have funded just under 500 of these requests (success rate = 15-16%; grand total of funds awarded = $8,050,000). The Foundation does not fundraise and thus the amount we can award each year is dependent on the financial markets. A particular challenge is to maintain and grow the spending power of the endowment, while...