H. and T. King Grant for Precolumbian Archaeology

The H. and T. King Grant for Precolumbian Archaeology, administered by the Society for American Archaeology, supports archaeological projects across Latin America (exclusive of the US) that show promise for transformative contributions to the understanding of the indigenous cultures from Mesoamerica, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

Complete applications with all materials must arrive no later than December 18, 2019, at 11:59 a.m. Eastern Time.

Las solicitudes completas con todos los documentos requeridos deberán entregarse a más tardar el 18 de diciembre de 2019, a las 11:59 am Hora Estándar del Este. 

2020 King Grant Program Guidelines

2020 King Grant Program Guidelines_Spanish


2019 H. and T. King Grant Recipients

Anahí Banegas and Ariadna Svoboda, "Archeology of Hunter-gatherers in the south-central coast of Chubut, Patagonia Argentina"

In the framework of the recent archaeological research in the south-central coast of the Chubut province (Patagonia Argentina), this project aims to expand the archaeological and bioanthropological knowledge of the area from the prospecting and excavation of sites in the southern sector of the Parque Interjurisdiccional Marino Costero Patagonia Austral (PIMCPA). For this coastal area there is scarce information, so it is intended to provide knowledge about the hunter-gatherers life and their interaction with the marine environment.. Based on the archaeological, bioanthropological and genetic evidence obtained, it will contribute to the current discussions about the adaptations of hunter-gatherer groups, their biological diversity and population dynamics throughout the Holocene. The results will allow to inquire about aspects related to subsistence; technology; mobility networks and circuits; antiquity and mode of settlement of the South American South Cone. The information generated by this project will not only be relevant in the scientific field, but will also have a direct impact on the Camarones community (gateway to the PIMCPA) as it will contribute to the value and conservation of the local archaeological heritage.

David M. Carballo, “Urban Neighborhood Organization and Public Space at Teotihuacan’s Tlajinga District”

A remarkable chapter in human history is the initial creation of cities and the societal transformations that have resulted from urbanism becoming the dominant settlement pattern across the globe. Archaeologists have established the temporal depth of cities in different world regions and continue to evaluate the materiality of ancient and historical cities through chronologically and geographically comparative studies (Carballo and Fortenberry 2015; Cowgill 2004; Marcus and Sabloff 2008; M.E. Smith 2007, 2010; M.L. Smith 2003; Storey 2006). Investigations in Mesoamerica have revealed urban households and neighborhoods to be critical units of analysis for addressing broad social issues, including economic and sociopolitical organization, and how activities undertaken by groups of people larger than households but smaller than whole cities were a form of social “glue” that permitted early urban centers to develop and thrive (Arnauld et al. 2012; Carballo 2011; Hutson 2016; Manzanilla 2009; Robin 2003; Santley and Hirth 1993). The early metropolis of Teotihuacan was the second largest city of the Precolumbian Americas, preceding the largest, the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, in central Mexico during the Classic period (100-550 CE). This proposal outlines a plan for archaeological exploration of public spaces in the Tlajinga district, located in Teotihuacan’s southern periphery. Previous work provides an informed understanding of domestic life, economic activities, and neighborhood spatial organization. Critically absent, however, is an understanding of the sorts of public spaces at Tlajinga that the sociologist Eric Kleinenberg (2018) terms “social infrastructure,” meaning those that bring people together for activities they generally enjoy doing and result in more resilient neighborhoods and cities. No excavations have been undertaken to date at Tlajinga’s platform structures or plazas, which are critical loci for evaluating how residences at Teotihuacan were connected as neighborhoods through shared activities in such spaces. The social infrastructure of neighborhood activities are likely to have included economic exchanges, religious rituals, and the administration of community labor projects, but we are currently ignorant of their nature, organization, and variability over time and space. New excavations at Tlajinga’s platform structures and plaza areas will provide important information regarding how neighborhoods on Teotihuacan’s southern periphery were organized and integrated into the broader urban fabric of the city, and how domestic life may have varied based on status and social inequality.

Liliana Manzi, “Expresiones visuales y poblaciones humanas en el extremo sur de Patagonia: representaciones rupestres en el campo volcánico Pali Aike (Santa Cruz, Argentina - Magallanes, Chile)”

The Pali Aike volcanic field (PAVF), at the southern edge of the Patagonian desert, consists of two regions in Argentine (Province of Santa Cruz) and Chile (Province of Magallanes). In this space, is situated the most austral painted rock manifestations of the world, in an area where until recently, and despite the early researches, the engraved motifs had remained undiscovered. The most frequent visual aspects are attributed to the so-called “Río Chico style”, characterized by the predominance of geometrical abstract designs, consisting of some figurative motifs, mostly painted in red and to a lesser extent black and white. As a rule, designs show high morphological and technical variability, which is why it is necessary to recognize the amplitude of such diversification, through the elaboration of a standardized classification system and the recognition of statistical and morphometric variations of certain kinds of motifs, helping to identify strategies of representation and cultural transmission in hunter-gatherer populations in an area with considered marginal settlement. 

Chronological estimates on relative bases and some indirect radiocarbon dating allowed to account because the production of motifs agrees with the Late Holocene -last 2000 years BP-.Recently, engraved motifs of guanacos with oversized bellies similar to painted motifs registered hundreds of km to the north were detected, which are not only novel for the area but also indicate they could correspond to earlier moments of the American settlement -Middle Holocene, ca. 5000 - 6000 years BP-, suggesting that rock art in the extreme south of Patagonia would reach a greater temporal depth than the one currently assumed. Likewise, other rock motifs unparalleled in the area were detected, among which are painted abstract motifs of large dimensions and a sexed anthropomorphic with feet of rhea (“ñandú”) -three-digits- and possible headdress that could correspond to human occupations close to the moment of European contact -last 500 years-. For these reasons, the excavation of specific soundings is essential to get a better resolution in the dating and contextual associations between rock manifestations and other kinds of material evidence.

At a local scale, it is expected to achieve clarifications regarding the variability of designs and forms of co-occurrence, while at the regional scale it is proposed to discuss population aspects, such as, if the central sector of the PAVF, between the Gallegos and Chico rivers, was a sparsely occupied space or if the low archaeological signal responds to a sampling bias,  given that recently surveyed parietal evidence seems to show connections with the central Patagonian plateau from early times. The existence and role of population nodes will be discussed, considering the expectation that in an area with low demographics the most parsimonious tendency would be towards the diversification of material repertoires and behavioral responses. The methodology of study privileges distributional aspects of the parietal registry, including digital surveys of already known cave manifestations and those that are recorded in new prospects, conducting surveys, morphological determinations and motive techniques, statistical analysis, and geometric morphometry.

Rebecca Mendelsohn, “Resilience and Daily Life at the Mesoamerican Capital of Izapa, Chiapas, Mexico”

The proposed research investigates the regeneration of a complex society after collapse. Through eight weeks of domestic excavations at the ancient capital of Izapa on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico, this project will investigate how residents responded following a localized collapse from 100 BC-AD 100. With a focus on the era of reoccupation at Izapa from AD 100-400, household archaeology will be used to reconstruct the daily life and sociopolitical organization of the residents who re-founded the city, as well as their relationships with peoples from neighboring regions. With its emphasis on the regeneration of an ancient civilization, the proposed research relates to studies on concepts of vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity of complex societies around the world.

Society for American Archaeology Announces New Grant to Fund Precolumbian Archaeological Research

Dec 20, 2018

A generous new grant program administered by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) will fund Latin American archaeological projects that show promise for significant contributions to understanding precolumbian Latin American indigenous cultures.

The H. and T. King Grant for Precolumbian Archaeology will award up to $60,000 per year to fund at least two, but preferably more, winning proposals for archaeological research, laboratory or collections study, or fieldwork focusing on the indigenous cultures from Mesoamerica, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

“Grant support at this level for archaeological projects is difficult to find, particularly if you are an early career archaeologist or scholar,” said SAA President Susan M. Chandler. “The H. and T. King Grant will allow SAA to provide funding to the most capable scholars with the most promising projects, thus ensuring that important archaeological research vital to our understanding of precolumbian cultures is able to move forward.”

The grant program builds on the donors’ long-standing support of precolumbian scholarship.

“I have had the privilege of being able to study the precolumbian cultures of Latin America ever since the 1970s when we lived in Mexico,” said H. King. “And I have been able to work as an art historian for many years with the remarkable objects they left behind. My work would have hardly been possible without the work and writings of archaeologists, but much more remains to be discovered.”

The donors designed their grant to promote research that will lead to a fuller understanding of the complex history of precolumbian cultures.

“Given the dearth of historical records, it is so important that more archaeological work be done so that we can learn more about these extraordinary cultures which are, sadly, not well enough known when compared with their European counterparts,” T. King said.

 “We want to contribute to this endeavor as much as we can,” said H. King. “Without scientific excavations, precolumbian art history is, in many ways, deprived of the ‘story’.

Complete applications for the H. and T. King Grant for Precolumbian Archaeology should be submitted by e-mail to htkgrant.saa@gmail.com by February 15, 2019. A full description of the program, eligibility requirements, and application materials is available on the Society’s website, www.saa.org.

La Society for American Archaeology King Grant Announcement