The JSA/Sophia Centre Skyscape Archaeology Award and Grants 2021

2021-03-24

The JSA/Sophia Centre Skyscape Archaeology
Award and Grants 2021

Between October 2020 and March 2021, the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology (JSA) together with The Sophia Centre at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the Sophia Centre Press co-organised a series of online lectures by experts in skyscape archaeology from around the world. The proceeds from this lecture series have been turned into a prestigious award and two research grants aimed specifically at students in this emerging field.

The Lionel Sims Award

The award is named to recognise the enormous impact made by Lionel Sims in his ground-breaking research on British megalithic monuments which revolved around his understanding of anthropology as the intersection of the five fields of cultural anthropology, archaeology, behavioural ecology (socio-biology), mythology and archaeoastronomy as the centrepiece. By bridging the gap between anthropological theory and archaeoastronomical interpretation, Lionel’s integrated approach challenged the status quo of the field and pushed the boundaries of interpretation, making it a source of inspiration for skyscape archaeology. Besides being an enthusiastic member of JSA’s editorial board, Lionel has a track-record of commitment to education in cultural astronomy. His “Stonehenge Decoded” course at the University of East London, which ran from 1993 to 2011, and his involvement with the Radical Anthropology Group evening classes inspired a whole new generation of anthropologists to consider the role and importance of the skyscape. Until recently, he also served as head of the Education Committee of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture (SEAC) where he has worked to ensure professional standards in archaeoastronomy courses.

Description

With the above in mind, we are announcing the first Lionel Sims Award for student contributions that bridge the gap between anthropological theory and skyscape archaeology. The award will be based on a piece of written research of between 8,000 and 10,000 words which demonstrates originality and high quality and makes a significant contribution to the field. Only essays that explicitly cross the divide between anthropological theory and skyscape archaeology will be considered. These might be applications of anthropological theory to a skyscape archaeology case study, or elaborations of theoretical developments within skyscape archaeology that take inspiration, or draw directly, from anthropological theory.

The award-winning essay will be published in JSA, subject to its usual peer review and publication procedure. The awardee will also commit to give one talk or lecture to the Sophia Centre (for example during a lecture series or annual conference).

Value

The Award will consist of £1000.

Eligibility

Applications are welcome from any university student (undergraduate or postgraduate) of archaeology, anthropology, cultural astronomy or a related field who is enrolled in a degree programme by the submission deadline. Proof of student status will be required (see below).

Application

Applicants should download and fill in the application form and submit it together with the following documents:

  • the essay, formatted according to the JSA guidelines;
  • a CV of no more than 2 pages, including a list of relevant publications;
  • proof of student status.

Accepted proof of student status includes university or supervisor letter, or photograph of student card provided that the name of the university, degree programme and start/end dates are clearly stated and visible.

All filenames should follow the same format, beginning with the initial of the first name, followed by the last name in full and an underscore separating it from a short description of the file in question. For example, an applicant named John Smith should submit the following files:

  • JSmith_application.docx
  • JSmith_CV.pdf
  • JSmith_essay.docx
  • JSmith_proof.jpg

The application deadline is the 21st December 2021. Applications should be sent to Dr Fabio Silva at [email protected]

Decision Process

The Awards Committee (see below for details) will assess applicants’ essays on the basis of the extent to which how they make a contribution towards bridging the gap between anthropological theory and skyscape archaeology. A shortlist of essays will then be studied in more detail. Following a lengthy discussion, the Committee will agree the worthy winner of the award by simple majority. The deliberations of the Committee will remain confidential and the Committee reserves the right to make no award if there are no essays of sufficient merit. All Awards Committee decisions are final.

The winner will be notified prior to an official announcement on 21st March 2022.

The Student Research Grants

Research in skyscape archaeology is often prohibitive for students, either due to the costs of travelling far away in order to survey a particular archaeological site or owing to the high cost of specialised equipment. The Student Research Grants are meant to support, promote and nurture future research projects by students in the field of skyscape archaeology. Projects may be part of their studies (if this is allowed by their programme or unit), completely independent pieces of research or pilot projects for further studies.

There will be two student research grants. One will be awarded to any university student (see eligibility below) whereas the other will be awarded to a student of the Sophia Centre.

At the end of the research project, award-winners should submit their results to JSA for publication as either a Research Note or a Research Article (depending on length). Awardees also commit to give one talk or lecture to the Sophia Centre (for example during a lecture series or annual conference).

Value

Each grant will consist of £500 to be used towards the execution of a research project.

Eligibility

Applications are welcome from any university student (undergraduate or postgraduate) of archaeology, anthropology, cultural astronomy or a related field who is enrolled in a degree programme during the academic year 2020-21. Proof of student status will be required (see below).

Applicants must have a coherent research project in mind, and provide sufficient detail on it (see below) including how the grant money will be spent.

Application

Applicants should download and fill in the application form which asks for details about their research project. These details include title; scholarly background; research question, aims and objectives; methodology; timetable and a full breakdown of how the grant will be spent. In addition, applicants should submit the following documents:

  • a CV of no more than 2 pages, including a list of relevant publications;
  • proof of student status.

Accepted proof of student status includes university or supervisor letter, or photograph of student card provided that the name of the university, degree programme and start/end dates are clearly stated and visible.

All filenames should follow the same format, beginning with the initial of the first name, followed by the last name in full and an underscore separating it from a short description of the file in question. For example, an applicant named John Smith should submit the following files:

  • JSmith_application.docx
  • JSmith_CV.pdf
  • JSmith_proof.jpg

Applicants that are students of the Sophia Centre will automatically qualify for the Sophia Centre-only grant, whereas all other applicants will qualify for the other grant.

The application deadline is the 21st July 2021. Applications should be sent to Dr Fabio Silva at [email protected]

Decision Process

The Awards Committee (see below for details) will assess all applications on the basis of the project’s impact on the field, employed methodology and feasibility. A shortlist of applicants will then be studied in more detail. Following a lengthy discussion, the Committee will agree the worthy winners of the grants by simple majority. The deliberations of the Committee will remain confidential, and the Committee reserves the right to make no grants if there are no submissions of sufficient merit. All Awards Committee decisions are final.

The grant winners will be notified prior to an official announcement on 21st September 2021.

The Awards Committee

Members of the Awards Committee have been chosen for their depth of expertise in fields relevant to skyscape archaeology. The 2021 Committee will consist of:

  • Dr Bernadette Brady;
  • Dr Frances Clynes;
  • Dr Liz Henty;
  • Dr Kim Malville;
  • Dr Frank Prendergast;
  • Dr Fabio Silva; and
  • Dr Nicholas Campion who will chair the Committee.

The Committee will shortlist applicants based on the criteria for the award and grants, following which the winners will be decided by simple majority on a panel discussion. In case of ties, the Committee chair will cast the deciding vote.

Any queries can be directed to Dr Fabio Silva at [email protected]