Rust Family Foundation

Archaeology Grants Program


2017 Request for Proposals in Archaeology


** Notice to all archaeology grant applicants:**

Due to an unexpectedly high number of proposals submitted to the RFF Archaeology Grants Program for 2017 projects, as of March 15, 2017 no further funding is available for the 2017 granting cycle. Any archaeology grant applications received from this day forward will be returned with an advisory to reapply for the 2018 granting season, for which applications will be considered starting September 15, 2017.

General guidelines:

 Proposals should be concise (limit of 5-10 pages) but include the specific information outlined below under “proposal guidelines.”  Use of auxiliary illustrative materials (maps, graphs, photos) is encouraged, and is not limited to any set number of pages. Relevant articles may also be included with a proposal.

Research focus:
The program emphasizes the following research goals and/or regions:
  •  Initial explorations in regions and/or chronological periods in which archaeological data has been previously lacking, and which may make significant breakthroughs in understanding human cultures. 
  •  Regions in which basic questions of human origins or the origins of cultural complexity are being explored (e.g., Near East, MesoAmerica, etc.).
  •  Regions in which archaeological sites or materials are in immediate danger of destruction. 
  •  Research that emphasizes new scientific methods or the use of established methods in new and innovative ways.
  •  Research that explores basic questions of human cultural development (e.g. development of agriculture, origins of complex society, migrations, trade, etc.).
  •  Projects that protect and conserve important archaeological sites or artifacts from known and immediate destruction.
  •  Field archaeology, post-excavation analyses, processing and publication.

2017 Funding Cycle:
Grants from the Rust Family Foundation are awarded on a calendar year cycle (Jan.1 through Dec. 31). Proposals submitted for the Archaeology Grants Program for 2017 are reviewed from September 15, 2016 to April 15, 2017, with the first grants awarded after January 1, 2017. Proposals are reviewed in the order received, and most awards are made on a first come, first served basis, until the allocated funds for that year have been fully distributed. 
Grant allocations:
Funding can be requested up to $10,000, with the majority of grants awarded through 2017 expected to be in the range of $5,000 - $6,000. Funds are intended to support small but worthy projects that might not be considered by major funding sources.  The Foundation's archaeology grants program can provide ‘seed money’ to initiate larger projects before major funding can be obtained. In some cases, grants may also be awarded in final stages of project completion, as for post-excavation analysis, and support for publications. Grants can support not only field archaeology, but also conservation and preservation projects.
Application must be made by the principal investigator sponsored by an educational or scientific institution.  Grants can only be made to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations that qualify under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or to non US-based institutions that can demonstrate similar qualifications, or who are directly affiliated with US institutions with tax-exempt status.
Applicants should note that the Rust Family Foundation's Archaeology Grants Program is primarily aimed at funding the development of direct archaeological evidence gained through field and laboratory work. While proposals should provide the theoretical basis of a given project in brief or succinct form, the main focus of proposals should be to detail the procedures of the gathering of evidence, and how these field and laboratory procedures are designed to help answer major questions about cultural prehistory and development in the region concerned.
As the Foundation's main directive is to fund the origination of archaeological research, in general, the Foundation typically does not fund the following types of requests:

  • Capital building projects, such as permanent residences, field laboratories, or other field structures such as roads or enclosures.
  • Fees for attendance at conferences.
  • Foreign airfare not directly related to archaeological research.
  • No grants will be made for religious purposes (note, however, that this restriction does not apply to archaeologists applying from colleges or universities with religious orientations).
  • No grants will be made to political organizations. 
  • No portion of the grant award may be used for salaries or fringe benefits of the principal investigator.

Proposal guidelines:
Proposals should include the following specific information:

1.) Cover Page: these items should be listed in brief, outline form:           
    a) Name of Project.
    b) Name and address of principal investigator(s), including both email and postal addresses. This contact information must be current; if the Foundation can not reach an applicant in a timely manner, a proposal may be rejected.
    c) Name and address of the institution or organization sponsoring the project. The sponsor (such as a university grants office) should have a tax-exempt, 501(c)3 status ennabling it to receive grants, and serve as the fiscal agent.
    d) Dates of project or project phase for which funding is sought.
    e) Project location, including 1) field site and 2) laboratory site (if distinct). An accurate map showing the field site location should also be included in the main body of the proposal.
    f) Total project budget.
    g) Amount of grant request.
    h) Waiver of overhead fee: Please consult with your sponsor prior to application, and include a sentence to the effect that the sponsor understands that no part of the Rust Family Foundation grant should go toward institutional overhead.
2.)   Abstract:  An initial paragraph or abstract summarizing the breadth of the project and how funds from the Rust Family Foundation would be used toward project goals.
3.)  Project Need:  What questions does the project intend to answer and why are these important for the region or for our understanding of human development in general?  For conservation/preservation grants, what are the sites/artifacts that are in danger, why are they important, and why are they in immediate threat?
4.)  Project History & Goals: What are the overall goals of the project?  What research has been accomplished to date and what is the significance of the activities to be funded by the Rust Family Foundation?  How does the project increase our understanding of the region/time period or larger questions of human development?  Please include a brief discussion of previous research on the project questions and aims if relevant.
5.)  Project Methodology: What methods will be used to accomplish these goals.  Will program funding be used primarily for field research or post-field analysis or conservation?  Please provide detailed plans for these methods, including maps of areas included in fieldwork, types of equipment to be used, analysis techniques, etc.
6.)   Project timetable. Give the planned beginning and ending dates of the project for which you are seeking funding.
7.)   Personnel:  List primarily personnel and their affiliations as well as any organizations and institutions presently involved or proposed to be involved, including host country governmental and private institutions, and explain their roles.  Include curriculum vitae of the principal investigator(s) as well as details of the professional experience and qualifications of other important staff and specialists.
8.)   Budget:  Detailed, realistic budgets should be provided both for the funding requested  from the Rust Family Foundation and for the project overall.  For field projects this should include specific line items for field season expenses and post-season  processing and analysis.  Budgets should include any other sources of income that have been acquired or plans to acquire as needed.
9.)   Permits:  Include the status of field research and any other research permits required by the host country.  Funds will not be released to grantees until the Foundation receives proof of permits.
10.)   Bibliography:  Append a list of works useful in understanding the history of the project, both general works covering region and time period, and more specific articles on the project’s results to date.  Copies of articles of particular significance are appreciated.
11.)   References:    Includes names of several professionals willing to be contacted who are familiar with the subject in general and the project in particular, but who are not themselves part of the project.
12.)   Deadlines:  Application may be made throughout the calendar year, with a deadline of April 30 for 2017 projects.  Due to the review process it is advisable to submit well in advance of the proposed inception of work.

Review of Proposals:
Proposals will be reviewed by the Foundation’s professional staff and Trustees.   Evaluations will be based on closeness to Rust Family Foundation program goals (above), impact on archaeological research, feasibility and funding criteria.  Proposals qualifying for further consideration may be submitted to select experts in the relevant field for further commentary before a final determination on funding is made.

Acceptance of funding:
Grantees are required to submit detailed reports within six months of the end of the grant period, including both project results and expenditures drawn from the grant. A report from the principal investigator should discuss results of the funded project and how the project goals were met. In addition, a report from the principal investigator and/or the sponsoring institution should detail the expenditure of Foundation funds in relation to the overall expenses of the project. The Foundation must approve any changes in allocation of grant funds toward the budget.  Continuing projects that have met their grant requirements may apply for (although they are not guaranteed) further funding in subsequent years.
Grant proposals should be sent as follows: two (2) printed copies mailed to William F. Rust, Ph.D., Trustee of the Rust Family Foundation, at 3244 Bronson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824; and another copy by email sent to Proposal Reviews, Rust Family Foundation at As soon as all copies of proposals have been received, the applicant will be notified.

Archaeology projects receiving grants in 2015-2016

Archaeology Grants Program

 Foundation history and goals

Foundation trustees and staff

Recent Foundation grants: general

3244 Bronson Road
, Fairfield, CT 06824
 USA           phone: 203-259-4576

website:            email:

Copyright    2017 Rust Family Foundation