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What is SPARC?

SPARC is an NSF-funded archaeology and archaeometry program dedicated to promoting geospatial research in archaeology, hosted by the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies at the University of Arkansas, Dartmouth College, and University of Glasgow. SPARC offers direct support to archaeological projects through awards in three categories:

The 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 residencies at CAST or through our online resources and periodic webinars. You can also connect with potential collaborators or develop projects in partnership with SPARC.

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 2020-2021 SPARC Program on a rolling basis, through April 2021. We will be prioritizing Data & Analytics and Archiving & Publication proposals due to uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, although Fieldwork projects will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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

  • MicroCT applications
  • Historic aerial and satellite imagery analysis
  • Digital data management, e.g. digital recording systems, interfaces, data integration
    • SPARC example: Marzuolo (Vennarucci)
  • Visualization and archiving of complex geospatial and geophysical datasets
    • SPARC staff example: Hampson Virtual Museum (, Rohwer Japanese Internment Camp digital reconstruction ( *please note these are larger in scale than what can be supported within a typical SPARC project, but that a SPARC project could be used to lay the groundwork for such a larger scale effort
  • VR as an interpretive and experimental medium
    • SPARC PI example work: Opitz 2017
  • sUAS (“drone”) based sensors (e.g. LiDAR, thermal, MS, SWIR, and hyperspectral)
    • SPARC examples: Cedar Mesa (Lipe), Hawaiʻi (McCoy), Midewin (McLeester)
  • High Performance Computing (HPC) and data science applications
  • Data analytics, such as image matching, feature recognition, and data mining
  • Publication of digital data

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

Measuring the Influence of Royal Centers in the Early States of Ancient Hawaii

Together with SPARC researchers, Drs. McCoy and Ladefoged, and Mr. Johnson, will use UAV-based LiDAR to map settlements along the ... More Info

Malthi Mapping and Digitization Project

Malthi provides a nearly unique example of a fully excavated Middle Hellenic (MH) settlement. The excavated remains include a ... More Info

Important Dates

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through April 2021. Pre-application consultations are required before submission. Please review the application requirements, then email us at to schedule a pre-application consultation.