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.

2018/2019 ARC Grant Recipients 

Brenda Arjona, Anthropology

The ARC Graduate Research Grant made it possible for me to spend the Summer 2018 fieldseason in Belize C.A. assisting Dr. Chelsea Blackmore with the Southern Belize Archaeological Project. As part of my dissertation research, I was able to greatly benefit from spending two months in southern Belize by participating in excavations, artifact analysis, and community outreach. I also gained exposure to existing and ongoing research in this region of Mesoamerica by attending the Annual Belize Archaeology Symposium in San Ignacio, Belize. Attending this conference aided me in networking with other archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology (NICH) Belize. These were all essential first steps in collecting data and experience for developing my own research project, which focuses on trading networks in southern Belize and what the material record can tell us about socioeconomic status and identity on the culturally mixed landscape during the 18th and 19th centuries. It would not have been possible for me to participate in these foundational experiences without the funding that ARC provided me.


Rebecca Davis, Anthropology

The ARC research grant provided necessary funding for travel and accommodation expenses for my 2018 field season in Milot, Haiti. Thanks to the generous support of the ARC, I was able to assist Dr. J. Cameron Monroe with excavations at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Palace of Sans-Souci.  In addition to excavations at the Palace, I was able to conduct an initial survey of a potential archaeological site relevant to my own research on resistance and enslaved domestic spaces. Funding for early researchers is relatively scarce, thus making the support offered by the ARC not only essential, but greatly appreciated. 




Danielle Huerta, Anthropology 

The ARC Graduate Research Grant afforded me the opportunity to venture out to New Mexico on my own this past summer 2018. While I was there I was able to network and make lasting professional connections, surface collect Pueblo made pottery sherds from a Pueblo Revolt refugee site (LA 96), attend the 2018 Pecos Conference in Flagstaff, Arizona, and explore potential dissertation material at the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies. All of this experience, made possible by the ARC grant, has helped me come into my own as a researcher, think through my dissertation topic, and better prepare me to face my graduate qualifying exams in April 2019. Additionally, the material I collected from the site of LA 96 will not only be part of my dissertation research, but I will be giving a paper on the analysis of these sherds at the Society for American Archaeology 84th Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  


David Ingleman, Anthropology

Western philosophers since Aristotle have been concerned with “the question of the animal”—i.e., what, if anything, makes us different from other animals. Archaeologists have only just begun to ask this question. My project studies how Euro-American concepts of humanity and animality articulated, overlapped, and conflicted with indigenous Hawaiian beliefs by studying the way that human and non-human interactions changed between the 1600s and 1800s. Although several Hawaiian archaeological collections of animal bones exist, little analytical work has previously been done. Thanks to ARC, I was able to purchase plastic specimen bags to begin the rehousing and analysis of vulnerable but significant legacy collections of Hawaiian archaeofauna. ARC also helped me to purchase a suckling pig carcass that I used to experimentally produce osteological lesions by simulating indigenous and western methods of slaughter.  


2017/2018 ARC Grant Recipients

Danielle Dadiego, Anthropology 

ARC helped fund my transportation to Milot, Haiti this summer to assist Dr. Cameron Monroe with his excavations of the UNESCO World Heritage site of San-Souci. I acted as the in-field laboratory manager and cataloged and analyzed over 12,000 artifacts recovered from excavations of the 19th-century palace complex. In addition to assisting in the field, I also conducted chemical composition analysis of the French tin-enameled ceramics using LA-ICP-MS. This project laid the groundwork for and provided training and experience needed to conduct my dissertation research.




Georgie Deanton, Anthropology

For my doctoral research, I am interested in studying Indigenous landscape management techniques along the central California Coast, collaborating with descendant communities and using the paleoethnobotanical analysis of seed and charcoal remains to reconstruct past environments. With the support of the ARC, during the summer of 2017 I had the opportunity to travel to New England and participate in a renowned tribally-run, community based project, gaining experience in the methodologies of decolonial archaeology. As a California archaeologist, I don't often have to travel far from home to conduct my research, but with the support of UCSC's ARC I have been able to participate in archaeological projects on both sides of the country while broadening my understanding of Indigenous persistence throughout the colonial period.


Danielle Huerta, Anthropology

Prior to the colonization of New Mexico in 1592, Pueblo people produced Rio Grande glaze-painted ceramics for hundreds of years. During the late thirteenth-century, potters in east-central Arizona began to experiment with copper and lead-based pigments that vitrified into a glossy glaze-paint upon firing. This sophisticated technical knowledge subsequently spread eastward to present day New Mexico, the central and southern Rio Grande. However, the production of Rio Grande glaze-painted pottery came to an end sometime after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 for reasons that scholars have only speculated upon. Using petrography, isotopic sourcing, and mineral and chemical compositional characterization techniques, my project investigates possible diachronic changes in technological style-learning, natural resource procurement, production- and indigenous trade to investigate how Rio Grande Glaze-ware production came to an end in order to better understand the extent of Spanish colonialism on Pueblo interrelationships and networks of learning, manufacture and trade. As an ARC Grant Recipient, the ARC has enabled me to travel to New Mexico for the past two summers of my graduate career where I have excavated at Spanish Colonial ranch sites, explored archives and research collections, as well as obtained preliminary material for my dissertation.

Eden Washburn, Anthropology

There has been limited archaeological projects that investigate the connection between groups living at high altitudes in the Andes Mountains and the Amazonian rainforest. I am interested in how groups living within these distinct landscapes might have interacted and gained access to resources that would have been otherwise unavailable to them. Human adaptations to the Andes have been fundamentally shaped by the distributions of available natural resources. Dramatic increases in altitude over relatively short distances result in a variety of vertically defined ecological zones. Because of these dramatic altitudinal changes, resources become very specific to each elevation, meaning in order to have access to all of the available resources, groups living at high altitude would have needed to forge relationships with groups living in different environments and/or traveled long distances. My research aims to address questions surrounding the extent of adaptation within these populations as a response to environmental challenges and their ability mitigate the political and/or colonial influence of highland Andean empires on their daily life.

2016/2017 ARC Grant 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, Anthropology 

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.