Bi-directional Mayan Archaeology Outreach Grant

Request for Proposals

Bi-directional Mayan Archaeology Outreach Grant

Deadline: December 31, 2010

Funding Amount: up to $10,000

The Maya Area Cultural Heritage Initiative (MACHI) is pleased to announce the initiation of a renewable challenge grant in 2011 for archaeological projects in the Maya region – southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras or western El Salvador.  The purpose of the grant program is to promote bi-directional knowledge exchange between archaeological projects and local communities in order to advance collaborative and participatory research. Projects involving nationals and indigenous researchers are strongly encouraged. In addition to a block grant, MACHI will provide support to awardees in the form of consultation with the bi-directional knowledge exchange coordinator and assistance in the development of materials. The long-term goal of this initiative is to promote the conservation of Maya archaeological heritage.

Required Program Elements

1) The archaeological project must facilitate the BI-DIRECTIONAL exchange of knowledge between either a community that is located near the site of the archaeological project or with a relevant interest group with an indigenous composition. Grant applicants are free to design a program around any topics of bi-directional knowledge exchange but must demonstrate community interest in the topics and a community willingness to collaborate. The proposal should include a concrete plan that includes the creation of some of the following contexts (or similar ones) for knowledge exchange.

For the Archaeological Project: Open-house days at site and lab; workshops for children and youth in local schools; community presentations; film presentations; participation of community in determining complementary research objectives; archaeological tours of local sites; storytelling (reading legends/stories relating to ancient or modern Maya cultural heritage); weekly radio program; attendance at community meetings; a “work-study” program volunteering project personnel for occasional field or household labor (i.e. collecting foods or tortilla making 2hrs/wk); final event showcasing season’s work.

For the Collaborative Community: Sponsoring lunch visits by archaeological project members to the community*; gathering local knowledge about the archaeological site under investigation and oral histories; storytelling, attendance at project meetings; craft-making sessions (i.e. basket weaving, ceramic making, embroidery), cooking sessions and agricultural education for project personnel; dance, music and games** (both traditional and non-traditional such as soccer); hosting landscape and place-name tours for members of archaeological project; participating in a community mapping project.

*We advocate regular lunch visits for one-on-one exchange between project members and the community. Hosts should be chosen equitably; non-monetary utilitarian gifts (such as meat, vegetables, or school supplies) are best to exchange for meals.

**The project must be willing and able to provide funding for community initiatives such as dance or music, or for materials for other initiatives such as craft making sessions.

2) In line with the long-term goal of archaeological conservation, the awardee will agree to conduct a GPS survey of current site damage via looting, stone displacement, agriculture, and population expansion, and to provide a short report (including an annotated database with UTM coordinates of damaged locales)

                – A GPS survey of damaged areas must take place at the beginning and end of a field season,     noting any changes.

Eligibility Criteria

1) Must be a multi-year (planned) project. Preference is given to projects in the initial or early stages (within the first five years) of investigation.

2) Preference is given to applicants who can provide matching funds for the knowledge–exchange program. Projects unable to demonstrate the existence of matching funds will ONLY be considered if they have not secured major funding for the archaeological season.

3) The program must have a dedicated bi-directional knowledge exchange coordinator.  The coordinator may participate in any other aspects of the project but must have the ability to devote a minimum of 20 hours a week to the facilitation of knowledge exchange. The facilitator may be any permanent project member, including a graduate student.

4) ALL project personnel (including field school students, when applicable) must be available a minimum of 2-4 hours/week for participation in exchange activities.

5) Preference is given to projects located in proximity to a community. Applications that propose work with indigenous communities are strongly encouraged, although projects proximal to non-indigenous local communities will also be considered.

Application Materials Requested

1) A written proposal of no more than ten pages double-spaced that addresses the following questions:

– What is your previous experience with developing and/or implementing community archaeology or outreach programs?

– What, if any, is your previous experience with the local community at your current site?  Who is the local community?  Where are they located in reference to the site?

– Why is a knowledge-exchange program important and with whom will you collaborate? (If possible, please provide evidence (anecdotal and/or documentation) of intent/interest of community in collaboration.)

– What BI-DIRECTIONAL knowledge exchange projects do you intend to implement this season?

– Do you currently have data on destructive forces that have had an impact on the archeological site that you are investigating?

2) Current project funding, percentage of current funding to be dedicated to knowledge exchange, and proposed budget.

– Please include projected length of time during which the project will continue and whether or not you are interested in being considered for additional BI-DIRECTIONAL funding in the future. MACHI does not fund overhead or indirect costs for university grant administration.

3) CV of primary project personnel and dedicated knowledge exchange coordinator (if identified).

Applications should be submitted electronically to by December 31, 2010.  For questions, contact Shoshaunna Parks at

For more information on MACHI, please visit our website at