Rust Family Foundation

Archaeology Grants Program


2018 Request for Proposals in Archaeology


General guidelines:

Proposals should be clear and concise (limit of 5-10 numbered pages not including bibliography, figures, and CVs) 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 previous publications directly pertaining to the project may also be included with a proposal. 
Applicants should note that the Rust Family Foundation's Archaeology Grants Program is primarily aimed at funding the development and dissemination 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.  Please be clear on the specific goals and methodological details of your project and the types of evidence you hope to ascertain.

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. 
  •  Research which pertains to basic questions of human origins or of human cultural development (e.g. development of agriculture, origins of complex society, migrations, trade, etc.).
  •  Projects that document, protect, and conserve important archaeological sites or artifacts from known and immediate destruction.
  •  Research that emphasizes new scientific methods or the use of established methods in new and innovative ways.
  •  Field archaeology, post-excavation analyses, processing, and publication. [However, please note that in 2018 RFF will provide only limited and exceptional grants for publications.]

2018 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 2018 are reviewed from September 15, 2017 to March 15, 2018, with the first grants awarded after January 1, 2018. 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.

For the 2018 Funding Cycle, the Rust Family Foundation especially invites proposals for projects dedicated to the documentation, protection or conservation of sites or regions under pervasive or imminent risk from organized looting activities, especially in regions where government protection of archaeological sites or materials is limited. 
Grant allocations:
Funding can be requested up to $10,000, with the majority of grants awarded through 2017 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.

Final Reports for Archaeology Grants:

Final reports are required of all grant recipients for the year a grant is issued.

  • These reports should include figures and be of a length suitable to provide a detailed summary of project findings covered by the RFF grant. All surveyed areas and test excavations should be described, with maps and plans included of surveyed sites and test areas, as well as significant features. Representative artifacts should be described and illustrated. If the funded project specifically involves the creation of maps or photographic records, examples of such maps and/or photos should be an essential part of the report. Laboratory findings should be described in sufficient detail to show trends revealed by the findings, to understand the methods employed,  and to evaluate the sampling procedures used. More detailed guidelines for final reports are sent to grantees and their sponsoring organizations.
  • All projects for each funding year of the Archaeology Grants Program will be described on the website of the Foundation. At the discretion of the Foundation, and with the consent of the grantee, parts of the final report will be included in the web report for that project, along with photographs, maps, and figures provided by the grantee. At the same time, no information will be released in the Foundation's web reports without the consent of the grantee, and full respect will be accorded the grantee's control of the publication of their findings. The Archaeology Grants Program's web pages are created as a shared enterprise between the grantee and the Foundation, intended to show the range of projects supported by the Foundation, and to give information to interested viewers on the project of each grantee.
  • As one of the requirements for reception of a grant, the final report for a specific project and year must be received by the Foundation before any additional funding may be sought by a grantee for the succeeding year.
  • Applicants seeking a second year’s funding for a given project must include findings from the final report of their first year’s project in their proposal for a second grant.
  • In certain cases, failure of grantees to submit final reports in a timely or sufficient manner may adversely affect the chances of future applicants from particular institutions or sponsoring organizations to receive grants.


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.
  • Major equipment such as drones or other vehicles, specialized cameras, or testing equipment.
  • 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.
  • The grant award may not be used for fees for officials or others in host countries who are not working in the archaeological project being funded, or for official permit fees, or any related tariffs required by host countries from the sponsoring institution of the principal investigator.

Proposal guidelines:
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.
The clarity of your proposal is important and the writing must be well edited. Please check your work for typographic errors and avoid both repetitive phrasing and unnecessary jargon. Font size should be 12-pt., and all pages in the proposal's main text must be numbered sequentially. Please remember to label graphics and follow format headings.  Map and figure labels should be large enough to be easily read when the proposal is printed on letter-sized paper. 

 The proposal 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 enabling 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. Please provide GPS coordinates if available.
    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 two summarizing the breadth of the project and how funds from the Rust Family Foundation would be used toward project goals.  Should you receive a grant, this abstract will be posted on the RFF website in our 2018 grantee list.
3.)  Project Need (1-2 pp.):  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 (1-2 pp.): 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? 
5.)  Project Goals (1-2 pp.): What are the overall goals of the project?  You may include a brief discussion of the theoretical basis of your research but please focus on the specific aims you hope to accomplish in this project. 
6.)  Project Methodology (1-3 pp): 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, as well as number of laboratory samples, size of excavated area or area to be surveyed, etc.
7.)  Project timetable. Give the planned beginning and ending dates of the project for which you are seeking funding.
8.)  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) (max. of 6 pp.) as well as details of the professional experience and qualifications of other important staff and specialists.
9.)  Budget:  A detailed, realistic budget should be provided for the total project which also specifies what items are requested for funding by the Foundation.  Provide in your proposal text the justification for funding requests as well as discussion of any other sources of income that have been acquired or plans to acquire as needed.  Purchase costs for major equipment (e.g. drones, computers, digital cameras) will only be considered if these are central to the project proposed and justification is provided why they cannot be borrowed or rented.  Please see separate budget guideline to prepare your line item budget.
10.)   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.
11.)   Bibliography:  Include a list of all works referenced in proposal text.  Also feel free to append a separate 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.
12.)   References:    Include 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.
13.)  Deadlines:  The final deadline for 2018 projects is March 15, 2018, but due to the review process it is advisable to submit well in advance of the proposed inception of work.  As noted above, grants are made on a continual or rolling basis until all funds for that cycle are allocated, and thus all funds may be used up some weeks prior to March 15, 2018.  If you are sending a proposal after February 2018 it is advisable to check back to this website where the current status of the deadline will be posted.  Proposals received after the cycle is closed will not be considered.

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.

Acknowledgement of grant award:

All grantees will be informed of their grant awards by an email and a signed letter mailed the same day from the Foundation. An email acknowledgment by the grantee should be sent to the Foundation as soon as possible.

The letter from the Foundation contains conditions and instructions for accepting the grant, which includes a letter to be signed by the grantee and specific information about the grants office or fiscal sponsor for the project who will receive the award. This signed letter from the grantee must be received by the Foundation before the grant award can be made.

Once the award is received by the grants office or fiscal sponsor, they are, in turn, expected to acknowledge the award as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization with a signed letter sent to the Foundation.

Conditions of non-response or death of grantee:

If no acknowledgment is made by an intended grantee of an award letter or email from the Foundation within three weeks, that grant may at the discretion of the Foundation be revoked and the funds reallocated to other grants.

If an intended grantee as P.I. of a specific project dies before receiving an award letter or email notification, making the required acknowledgment of receipt of an award letter impossible, with no funds having been disbursed, that particular grant will be cancelled and the funds reallocated to other grants.

If a grantee acting as P.I. dies during the course of a project, other team members or co-P.I.'s may, on consultation with the Foundation, take over responsability for grant administration, and authorship of a final report for that project.

Acceptance of funding:

Grantees are required to agree to the following conditions for the RFF grants:
1) A report on the results of the project is to be submitted to the Foundation within six months of the completion of the project. Summaries of these reports are posted onto our website. 2)  A copy of any publication resulting from the funded project will be sent to the Foundation.  3) The Foundation is named as a sponsor in any published materials related to the project.

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.



Archaeology Grants Program

Archaeology projects receiving grants in 2015-2017

Budget worksheet for grant proposals


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, Fairfield, CT 06824
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