James A. Bennyhoff Memorial Fund Award


The Bennyhoff Memorial Committee proposes to improve its services to the Society for California Archaeology membership by expanding its awards to two tracks—the Bennyhoff Student Award and the Bennyhoff Research Award. The awards will continue to meet our mission statement and honor Dr. Bennyhoff’s legacy by supporting original research on the prehistory of California and the Great Basin. We will give special consideration to projects emphasizing analysis of existing museum collections, those housed in regional repositories, or those reported in inventories and reports which focus on: (1) the development, significant refinement and/or modification of time-sensitive typologies or seriation studies useful in identifying prehistoric spatial or temporal units; or (2) relating primary data to revision of existing culture historical taxonomic frameworks. Consultation with relevant Native American groups would be expected, as applicable.

Unlike previous years, the Committee will consider proposals totaling $4,000.00 annually, with $1,500.00 dedicated to the Student Award and $2,500.00 to the Research Award.

In the past, additional support has been available to Student Award recipients of up to 100 obsidian hydration readings courtesy of Tom Origer’s Obsidian Laboratory and up to 50 obsidian source analyses courtesy of Richard Hughes’ Geochemical Research Laboratory. Both have graciously agreed to expand their contribution to cover both awards, and the SCA is grateful to these longtime contributors and former Bennyhoff students for their important and selfless donations.

Bennyhoff Student Award

The Student Award will be unaltered from its current status, conditions, and schedule. Per existing rules, Student Award proposals must: identify research relevant to Dr. Bennyhoff’s research interests; contain a detailed budget and justification making full use of the award; include a statement defining where the research will be presented and/or published; a schedule for conducting and finalizing research and presentation, not to exceed one year; and include a curriculum vitae and letter of support from a faculty advisor. We will continue to advertise in the fall and give out the award in advance of the Annual Meeting, with the winner announced and introduced at the Awards Banquet. If there are no winning entries or if no proposals are received, the funds can roll to the Research AwardStudent Award recipients will also be eligible for up to four AMS dates courtesy of the CAMS facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. DOWNLOAD THE POSTER

Bennyhoff Research Award

This branch of the award will go to studies proposed by members of the Society for California Archaeology who are RPA-listed or qualify as a Principal Investigator under the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines. In addition, proposed research must fall outside the purview of conventional cultural resource management investigations and must not supplement active commercial investigations. Proposals will be considered that result in: (a) publication of important, unpublished existing manuscripts; (b) production of new original reports and data compilations for key underreported collections, especially those under consideration for repatriation; and (c) synthesis and analysis of cultural and temporal marker artifact types. If proposed research entails analysis of existing collections, the proposal must include an agreement from the curation facility. Research Award proposals must include a reporting schedule for report/publication production and SCA Annual Meeting or Data-Sharing Meeting presentation. Research Award proposals must include and maintain a schedule for e-mail milestone status reports to the Bennyhoff Committee Chair. The Research Award will be advertised at the Annual Meeting and proposals will be reviewed no later than August 31. DOWNLOAD THE POSTER

Student Award Total: One @ $1,500.00 plus 100 obsidian hydration, 50 x-ray fluorescence, and four radiocarbon dates (total value of @6,000). 
Student Award Deadline: 15 December.

Maximum Research Award Total: One @ $2,500.00, plus 100 obsidian hydration and 50 x-ray fluorescence (total value of @$6,000).
Research Award Deadline: 31 August.

We would like to thank all those who have contributed to the Bennyhoff Memorial fund over the years. Initial source funds were supplied by Randy Milliken and Rose White’s Bennyhoff Gravenstein Flea Market sales. Continued donations have come from our yearly quilt raffles and from SCA members. Please consider donating by contacting the SCA Business Office.

Complete proposals in a PDF format should be emailed to Pat Mikkelsen (moc.nretsewrafnull@tap), the James A. Bennyhoff Memorial Fund Award Committee Chair. Any questions about the proposal process or award can be directed to the Committee Chair’s email address above or at 530-304-1727.


Erica J. Bradley
University of Nevada, Reno
Project Summary
Few Paleoindian occupations in the Great Basin have absolute age determinations because most  are open-air, near-surface manifestations with poor preservation. This complication has led to a perception that the Paleoindian Period is a relatively stagnant cultural unit. Considering that Paleoindians experienced some of the most dramatic environmental changes in the human history of North America, the Pleistocene-to-Holocene transition was likely a dynamic cultural period and we should expect to see changes in land use and technology of corresponding magnitude. It may be possible to overcome the challenges of working with a predominantly surface record using a combination of established approaches: for example using projectile point types to date sites via seriation, using obsidian hydration to independently test the relative ages of sites, and comparing diachronic toolstone conveyance patterns. I will apply these methods to assemblages from Hawksy Walksy Valley, a small pluvial lake basin in the northwestern Great Basin.


Award Recipients:

2021 – Erica J. Bradley
2020 – No award
2019 – Kristina Crawford
2018 – Brian Barbier
2018 – Nichole Fournier
2017 – David C. Harvey
2016 – Gregory R. Burns and Susan D. Talcott
2015 – Allison Hill
2014 – (No award given)
2013 – Carly Whelan
2012 – Devin L. Snyder
2011 – Kristina Gill
2010 – Melanie Beasley
2009 – John Schlagheck
2008 – Terry L. Joslin
2007 – Donna Gillette
2006 – Elizabeth Sutton
2005 – Allika Ruby
2004 – Deanna Grimstead and Brandon Patterson
2003 – Shannon Tushingham
2002 – Alexander DeGeorgy
2001 – Kathleen Hull
2000 – Torbin Rick
1999 – Sharon McFarland
1998 – Eric Wohlgemuth
1997 – René Vellanoweth
1996 – Nelson Siefkin

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