Bennyhoff Award Guidelines


The Society for California Archaeology (SCA) invites interested undergraduate and graduate student members to submit research proposals for the James A. Bennyhoff Memorial Award (Award). The Award is intended  to support original research on the prehistory of California and the Great Basin. Initial funding was from generous donations by friends and colleagues of the late Dr. Bennyhoff to simultaneously support student research while keeping alive the memory of a truly remarkable scholar, teacher, and friend who devoted his  life to the study of prehistory.  Continuing contributions are made through the SCA.

Research projects must be consistent with the scholarly interests of Dr. Bennyhoff in California and Great Basin prehistory. They should emphasize analysis of artifacts in existing museum collections, archived in regional repositories, or reported in gray literature on topics pertaining to: (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) integrating primary data to revise existing culture historical taxonomic frameworks.

Research proposals may involve more than one sub-discipline of anthropology and may have objectives beyond cultural history; however, a significant portion of the study must involve direct work with artifacts or other primary source data (e.g., mission registers and historic documents), and must show promise to enhance the understanding of California or Great Basin prehistory. Research projects must be designed to culminate  in a formal research project, such as a thesis, dissertation, or refereed publication.


Funding from the Award (up to $1,500) may be used for expenses directly related to the study; e.g., travel for the purpose of studying existing collections, illustrations, graphics, radiocarbon studies, oxygen isotopic analysis, or obsidian studies.

In addition to the monetary award, the following analytical services are available: 100 obsidian hydration readings, courtesy of Origer’s Obsidian Laboratory; 50 obsidian source analyses, courtesy of Richard Hughes at Geochemical Research Laboratory; and four AMS dates courtesy of the CAMS facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.


Complete proposals must include all of the following. Incomplete proposals will not be considered.

  • Research proposal relevant to the studies of Dr. Bennyhoff
  • Detailed budget and justification, making full use of the award
  • Statement defining where the research will be presented and/or published
  • Schedule for conducting and finalizing research and presentation, not to exceed one year
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letter of support from a faculty advisor

1. Cover Sheet

Title of proposed research, author and affiliation, contact information, date

2. Project Summary Abstract

No more than 150 words, containing a concise research statement, it’s relationship to the work of Dr. Bennyhoff, the intellectual merit of the proposed research, a statement of objectives, and methods to be employed.

3. Research Proposal

The main body of the proposal should be no more than three pages, including: (1) research statement and design; (2) methods to be employed; (3) how the research is consistent with the scholarly interest of Dr. Bennyhoff; and (4) objectives and scientific or educational significance of the proposed research. In addition, provide a one year schedule for completion, and detail the use of the cash prize and the support studies

A curriculum vitae and letter of support from a faculty advisor should be attached to the proposal.

4. Format

Manuscripts should be prepared according to the style guide for American Antiquity which is available at


All materials must be received no later than 15 December 2020. Submissions are electronic only. Complete proposals in a PDF format should be emailed to Pat Mikkelsen, the James A. Bennyhoff Memorial Fund Award Committee Chair at moc.nretsewrafnull@tap. After the proposals are evaluated by the six-member committee, the author of the winning submittal will be contacted by 30 January 2021. The James A. Bennyhoff Memorial Fund Award recipient will be announced during the 2017 Society of California Archaeology Annual Meeting banquet awards ceremony.


By accepting the Award the recipient commits to presenting research results as a paper or poster at the 2021 Society for California Archaeology Annual Meeting. Additionally, the recipient is encouraged to submit research results to an archaeological journal or other formal publication with acknowledgment of financial assistance from the Award.


Pat Mikkelsen

James A. Bennyhoff Memorial Fund Award Committee Chair moc.nretsewrafnull@tap.