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What is SPARC?

SPARC is an NSF-funded archaeology and archaeometry program dedicated to promoting geospatial research in archaeology. SPARC pairs archaeologists with geospatial experts from University of Arkansas’s Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) and Dartmouth’s Spatial Archaeometry Lab (SPARCL) through:

  • Supported Research Projects, which are our flagship peer-reviewed, in-kind awards that provide SPARC-funded staff time, equipment use, and travel to assist with pilot projects;
  • Research Collaborations, which include consultations, small projects (less than 20hrs staff time), or projects with significant cost-share by the external collaborator; and
  • Residencies which provide stipends of $1000 to travel to CAST or SPARCL to undergo face-to-face collaborations, utilize equipment and facilities, and develop publications.

Based on focus, these projects are classified in one of the following categories:

Research outcomes associated with SPARC project include publications, presentations, new grants, and websites, as well as the archiving of geospatial research. In addition, you can learn about the latest technologies and their archaeological applications through our online resources (including our new GitHub teaching exercises) and periodic webinars.

General resources about spatial archaeometric applications for archaeology and specifics about the residency program, can be found under the Learn section. Researchers interested in supported research projects should explore the Develop and the appropriate Apply sections (e.g., for fieldwork, data and analytics, or publications proposals). You can also contact us directly a to develop projects in partnership with SPARC, for advice of research proposals, or for other consultations.

Recent News

Teaching Resource: Reuse of archived digital 3D models for university students: ( 11/02/20) The SPARC Program supports good practice in archiving of our projects in Zenodo (see "Consult Standa... More Info

What happens after a SPARC Project is completed? Research Outcomes, Finals Reports, and Archiving: ( 09/02/20) SPARC follows the best practices in digital archaeology by making our results publicly accessible to... More Info

Publication Highlight: Least-cost path and viewshed analyses to model territorial boundaries: ( 09/02/20) SPARC PI Nicholas Carter and colleagues published their article, “Country roads: Travel, visibilit... More Info

We are currently accepting applications for the 2021-2022 SPARC Program on a rolling basis.

We are especially interested in projects that overlap with our 2020-20201 Analytical Development Priorities, which include:

  • Historic aerial and satellite imagery analysis
  • sUAS ("drone") based sensors (e.g. LiDAR, thermal, SWIR, multi- and hyper-spectral)
    • SPARC examples: Cedar Mesa (Lipe), Hawai'i (McCoy), Midewin (McLeester)
  • MicroCT applications
  • Data analytics, data science
    • SPARC examples: Five Lands (Carter), GeoPACHA (Wernke)
    • Additional examples: image matching, feature recognition, data mining, use of high-performance computing, APIs
  • Digital data management
    • SPARC example: Marzuolo (Vennarucci)
    • Additional examples: planning workflows (e.g., for equipment or software use, project design), digital recording systems, interfaces
  • Visualization and archiving of complex spatial datasets
    • SPARC example: Amache StoryMaps (Kamp-Whittaker)
    • CAST example: Hampson Virtual Museum ()

We also encourage inquiries about proposal development for collaborations beyond the scope of the SPARC Program.


Hassett, B.R. (2018) Which Bone to Pick: Creation, Curation, and Dissemination of Online 3D Digital Bioarchaeological Data. Arch 14, 231–249.

Opitz, R. (2017) An experiment in using visual attention metrics to think about experience and design choices in past places. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 24(4), pp. 1203-1226. https://doi:10.1007/s10816-016-9310-2

Tuniz C., Zanini F. (2018) Microcomputerized Tomography (MicroCT) in Archaeology. In: Smith C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Springer, Cham.

What is Spatial Archaeometry?

Spatial Archaeometry is the application of scientific techniques to measure properties of archaeological materials at all scales, including objects, sites and landscapes, wherein the spatial properties of the measurements are central to their analysis and interpretation.

What we do.

We help you learn about spatial archaeometry, develop your ideas through collaborative project proposal writing, apply your research plans through SPARC research support awards, and collaborate your results and experience with the archaeological community.

Why we do it.

Collaborating on research, sharing equipment and resources, and facilitating knowledge exchanges and best practices will promote the use of remote sensing methods and geospatial in archaeological research and assist researchers in meeting their project's goals.

SPARC Areas of Expertise

Funded Projects » See All Funded Projects

Mapping the Iron Age Metalworking Site of As-Safah (Oman)

This project will use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to transform understanding of Iron Age metallurgy in Oman, looking specif... More Info

Architectural Sequences in the Shire Region

Together with SPARC researchers, Drs. Wendrich and Barnard and Ms. Moy will undertake geophysical survey and analysis of archaeolo... More Info

Important Dates

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Pre-application consultations are required before submission. Please review the application requirements, then email us at to schedule a pre-application consultation.