The EXARC Experimental Archaeology Award

Sometimes, you have a good idea for experimental archaeology research, but you lack resources. EXARC already offers its contacts, with over 400 members worldwide, its access to materials and tools around the world, literature via But now we add micro-funding. EXARC offers two awards of 500 EUR each for worthwhile archaeological experiments, regardless where in the world they are executed and by whom. These awards are sponsored by EXARC member John Kiernan (US)

You don’t need to be an archaeologist to design and execute a good experiment, and it does not have to be themed with a prehistoric subject only either. What we offer may help you to start your experimental project (seed money), and we also offer publication of it in the EXARC Journal. Last year alone, the open access Journal had 175,000 page views. 


You are an EXARC member or will join EXARC as a member when you accept the Award;
Theme of your project is experimental archaeology;
Recipients write one or several blog entries during the actual project, which will be published on the EXARC website and Social Media;
Recipients write an article for the EXARC Journal (reporting phase);
You will state in all communication that this project is supported by EXARC. 


2021 Awards

When we opened our call for micro funding of archaeological experiments, little did we know we would receive 22 applications from around the world. The themes and approaches were truly diverse, including both creativity and academic rigour. Thanks to our sponsor, EXARC member John Kiernan, the jury has actually been able to select three winners of 500 EUR each, not just two.

Ms Martellotta is a PhD candidate at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Ethnographic literature suggests that wooden items – specifically boomerangs – were frequently utilised as retouchers, but no material evidence has been identified. As a response, a technological parallel could only be found in Palaeolithic European technology. Maybe Australian boomerangs were used as retouchers?

Mr Deter-Wolf is the Prehistoric Archaeologist for the Tennessee Division of Archaeology in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Deter-Wolf and team’s experimental study seeks to compare the physical characteristics of tattoos created using different pre-modern tools and methods. To achieve this goal, they will manufacture an assortment of historically documented tools spanning the full range of tattooing techniques. Professional tattooist and team member Danny Riday will then use these tools to tattoo himself.

Ms Sandron is a master’s student at the University of Torino, Italy. She will look into the sustainability of dental calculus (mineralised dental plaque) research. Dental calculus is an ‘archaeological deposit on teeth’ which holds immense archaeological potential. Ms Sandron has access to the remains of nuns who prepared and consumed some of the first chocolate produced in Turin (Italy) in the 17th century. She will source the main ingredients of the old chocolate and recreate the “nuns’ chocolates” recipe. Following on this, Sandron will study the dental calculus to identify diagnostic micro-remains and chemical biomarkers.



Call Opens: 27 March 2021
Call Closes: 30 June 2021 (it means the call is closed now)
Decision: 15 July 2021
Project start: before 1 September 2021
Planning Phase: Max. 3 months
Execution of the Experiment: Max. 6 months
Reporting Phase: Max. 3 months
Project end: 12 months after project’s start


The application needs to be in MS Word format and includes:

  • One file with your personal contact details and a CV (max. 3 pages)
  • A second file with a short description (200 – 750 words, no images) of the project including:
    • Title and theme of your project
    • The boundaries in space and time (what does this research apply to?)
    • What has been done in the same field: mention literature, people & organisations;
    • Expected outcome;
    • Communication & impact: how will you include ‘the world’ in your project (before, during, after): what media will you use and how can other EXARC members or other people be included during the project?
    • Budget and investment of time (including how other costs are covered).