ARC Graduate Research Grants

The ARC provides a few small grants annually to support research undertaken by graduate students in Archaeology and closely related disciplines at UCSC. These grants may be used to “top off” funds secured for an existing research project (from department research grants for example), as seed money to conduct preliminary dissertation research, or to provide funds to complete a project related directly to the PhD or the researchers long-term career goals. Successful grantees are expected to produce a brief report on their research activities by the end of the academic year during which they have received support. The call for proposals will go out at the beginning of the Spring academic quarter. Please return to this page in the future to confirm the precise deadline.

2016/17 ARC GRG Recipients

Danielle Dadiego, Anthropology

Little historical and archaeological work has been done regarding the colonial period in Belize. During the seventeenth century English privateers encroached on the Spanish logging monopoly creating a legal and territorial dispute between England and Spain that would last for over two centuries. Spain issued a policy that prohibited any settlement within the southeastern region of Belize, in attempt to stop English encroachment. I am specifically interested in looking at frontier settlements in this area (whether Spanish or English) and how they worked within the colonial political economy, essentially “under the radar” yet centrally important to the success of the trade economy. The holdings in the Bancroft library include primary and secondary sources concerning Colonial Spanish America, and Central Mexico in particular. I will conduct four days of research at the Bancroft library to produce a list on holdings specifically related to my dissertation topic and Latin America in general.

Chester Liwosz, Anthropology

This study employs cutting-edge, zero-impact experimental and recording methods to better understand connections between Mojave Desert rock art, and the practices and experiences motivating their creation. Kawaiisu, Paiute, and Shoshone oral traditions frequently credit rock image production to the actions of spirits (often Coyote or Water Baby), whose echoes indicate their presence at these locations. Technical and stylistic qualities of these carved and/or painted images strongly indicate the production process often generated rhythmic beats. Cognitive neuropsychology informs us this repetitive audio droning, and the statistically dominant intricate geometric designs, both cross-culturally correlate with trance-inducing cultural practices. For three Mojave Desert rock art landscapes, I generate 3-dimensional digital models of these spaces in which to curate visible and auditory properties (e.g. echo and resonance). This integrative, multisensory approach tests the neuropsychology hypothesis for consistency with oral traditions. This study ambitiously strives to bridge western empirical and indigenous ontologies of spirit phenomena.

Kalina Kassadjikova

picture of kalina
I am interested in the epigenetic effects of slavery. Traumatic experiences, maltreatment, and chronic stress, such as associated with the middle passage and slaves' living conditions, can manifest genetically as mutations affecting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, responsible for the body's response to stress. These epigenetic changes have been linked to a number of disorders (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, PTSD, depression) and studies suggest that such epigenetic trauma can be transmitted transgenerationally. Preliminarily, this study will supplement osteoarchaeological analyses by providing additional evidence of sex, age, and ancestral origins of individuals. Employing bioinformatics, I will then study the level of epigenetic methylation in HPA-associated regions and analyze for patterns between African-born, 'creole,' European, and indigenous individuals and generations in various historical contexts. By studying how the environmental and sociocultural experiences of enslaved individuals impacted their physiological processes and health, I aim to better understand the microevolutionary dynamics of both colonial and contemporary population biology.