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NEARA Research Grant Program

This is an offer of technical services and funding; we are requesting research project proposals.

The New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA) for nearly sixty years has been researching the origins and uses of various kinds of stone structures found throughout northeastern North America and elsewhere. For many years NEARA has been providing funding and resources for research projects that have helped our understanding of many stone chambers, rock piles, stone walls, stone circles, standing stones, mounds, and rock art.

Recently we have helped with several optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating projects in an attempt to more directly date stone structures. With that experience, and given the increased interest in the technique, we would like to standardize the process of proposing and carrying out such research projects, including providing some funding and assistance in executing those projects. We also have had some experience and contacts with people who do GPR surveys, photogrammetry and scanning, drone (UAV) surveys, and archaeoastronomy. NEARA also has a Library and Archives that could provide important information for a research project.

NEARA can provide funding for laboratory tests as well as provide expertise in developing the sampling plan and executing it. Laboratory testing need not be limited to OSL dating — they may also apply to radiocarbon (14C) dating and possibly other kinds of analysis. Research projects need not be limited to lab testing — grants can also apply to utilizing needed specialists and helping with surveys and site recording, and paying for materials and equipment.

You will need to communicate with the NEARA Research Committee and submit a Research Grant Application describing the proposed project in detail, as described below. The Committee will review applications, work with applicants to improve them, and then decide whether to commit to the project. The amount of funds allocated each year may change, depending on the quality of the applications. We hope to provide funds ranging in the thousands of dollars per year.


The Research Committee will evaluate proposals based on many criteria. Among them are:

  1. How well does it pertain to NEARA's mission? The project should be about lithic structures in the northeast.
  2. Is the project's primary question well defined? Will the project answer it?
  3. How much does it benefit NEARA's members? Will it attract desirable and positive attention?
  4. Are the requested funds within NEARA's budget?
  5. How likely is the project to succeed? What are the risks?
  6. How well designed and articulated are the proposal and the project plan? Are there any unexplained logical holes in the assumptions or explanations?
  7. How will the applicants help with the project?
  8. How much can NEARA members be involved?

These criteria are subject to change.


When applying for a grant, please keep in mind our expectations. Among them are:

  1. At least one applicant should be a member of NEARA.
  2. We will not pay for internships or fellowships.
  3. We require written permissions from landowners and other relevant parties.
  4. We require agreements regarding liability and non-disclosure.
  5. Applicants must make all field data, lab reports, notes, photos and videos available to NEARA.
  6. Afterwards applicants should give a presentation to NEARA and provide a suitable article to a NEARA publication.
  7. Applicants should give appropriate recognition of NEARA's contributions in presentations and publications.

These requirements are subject to change.


Send email to research@neara.org with a quick description of the project and what help is sought from NEARA. We can give you an idea of whether the project sounds interesting and plausible, and whether it is worth submitting an application. (See the Application section below.)

The NEARA Research Committee and Board of Directors will hold the details of applications in confidence. We will help try to improve the project proposal. Eventually we will decide whether to commit to the project.

If we approve the proposal we will assign someone to manage NEARA's participation in the project. If needed we can help choose and manage any specialists or laboratories, get needed permissions, schedule visits and specialists and laboratory work, encourage participation, and help analyze and disseminate results.


Projects can be expensive and time-consuming, but NEARA has limited funds and finite resources. NEARA makes no assurances that a project will be selected, or that NEARA will help as much as you might like.

We are unlikely to be able to do all of the work for the project, so your help and the help of many others will be critical in accomplishing the goals of the project.

There can be no guarantees that you will get the results from the project that you hoped for.

NEARA cannot be held liable for any acts or omission of acts that occur for the project.


Send a detailed document with the following information to research@neara.org.

  1. Applicant names, contact information, affiliations
  2. Site and feature(s) to be investigated, precise GPS location(s), town/county/state/country
  3. Description of feature(s), both written and photographic
  4. Landowner(s), contact information, registry book and plot #
  5. Other interested parties and their contact information
  6. Are there any restrictions on access or activities? Are any permits needed?
  7. What kinds of investigations are to be done? What are the sampling or survey plans? How much thought have you given to confounding factors?
  8. Why is the project important?
  9. Who benefits? Who might be opposed to the project and why?
  10. Were any archaeological projects conducted there?
  11. Are there any publications about the site?
  12. What historical research has been done? What is known about its land use?
  13. What kind of help do you need from NEARA?
  14. What kind of help will you provide to get the project done?
  15. When can field work be done? Is there a deadline?
  16. What kinds of publicity will be allowed, and when?
  17. Who will present results (talks, articles) to NEARA?

We look forward to hearing about that project you have always wanted to do.