The Körös Regional Archaeological Project: International Research Experiences for Students (IRES)

Program: International Multidisciplinary Research Project, June 1-30, 2014, Hungary

Major Field: Anthropological Archaeology


  • William A.Parkinson, Field Museum, Chicago
  • Richard Yerkes, Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Attila Gyucha, Hungarian National Museum, Budapest

Locations: Fieldwork in Hungary: June 1–30, 2014; lab projects may be continued in Hungary, Greece, and USA in summer and autumn, 2014. Part of a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, international research project between scientists and students at European and American Universities and Museums. 

Program Description: Five outstanding undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers in Anthropological Archaeology – particularly qualified minorities and members of other underrepresented groups – will join an international, multidisciplinary, research team studying prehistoric European agricultural villages on the Great Hungarian Plain occupied between 5500 and 4500 BC (cal.). This research, training, and mentoring program includes field work at Neolithic tells and flat sites, data collection, laboratory analysis, publication, and dissemination of information to a wide audience. Five applicants will be selected to join our archaeological field project in eastern Hungary, design an independent research project, and catalog and analyze data from field sites. After the season in June, they may work with scientists and mentors at laboratories in Hungary, Greece, and the USA; analyze and interpret their data; present their results at international conferences; publish their results in peer-reviewed journals; and dissemenate their findings via webpages and other media. 

The independent research projects are: 

  1. Analysis of anomalies identified during magnetic surveys. Anomalies have “signatures” associated with certain features.
  2. Classifying and documenting artifacts. Artifacts will be photographed, measured and classified. Artifact distribution patterns will be used to identify structures and activity areas.
  3. Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon dates will be analyzed to refine the chronology of Neolithic settlements.
  4. Reconstruction of paleo-environmental contexts with geomorphological data. The configuration of ancient landforms can be reconstructed from topography, while pollen, microfossils, and macrofossils found in soil cores can be used as proxies for past environmental conditions.
  5. Microstratigraphic analysis of tell levels. Features, burned layers, and artifact concentrations in tell levels will be sampled to obtain materials that will be used for dating, to reconstruct building methods, and examine the depositional and weathering processes.
  6. Functional analysis of lithic artifacts. Diagnostic wear traces on edges of flaked and ground stone tools will be identified and compared to the microwear on stone tool replicas to learn how ancient tools were used.
  7. Elemental and petrographic analysis of ceramics. Sources of clays and temper used to produce pottery will be identified and firing temperatures will be estimated. The results will be used to study ceramic technology and exchange.
  8. Identification and analysis of animal remains. Domestic and wild species can be identified, species abundance estimated, and butchering and disposal practices can be documented.
  9. Identification of floral materials from flotation samples. Animal and plant remains can be identified and used to reconstruct past diets, seasonality, and land use practices.
  10. Stylistic analyses of ceramics. Pottery styles can be identified and used to examine interaction between kin groups within sites and with other societies on the Great Hungarian Plain and beyond.

Financial Support: Funds from a National Science Foundation OISE International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) grant will cover airfares, food, and lodging for participants during field and lab work and residence at European and American research facilities, and emergency travel insurance (they must maintain their standard health care coverage). This will ease the financial burden for minorities and other under-represented groups. Five selected applicants will take on the responsibilities of independent research, and gain confidence in their abilities to work as full-fledged members of international scientific teams. This is a physically and mentally demanding program, but it will prepare IRES participants for productive scientific careers in an increasingly interconnected world. We seek participants who will do well in a co-educational collaborative group research project, who are enthusiastic about our program, and are willing to commit to the physical and mental demands of the international research experience.

Eligibility: Federal funding for this project restricts applications to American citizens who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at an accredited college or university, or hold a postdoctoral appointment. Applicants with prior archaeological field experience (e.g., field schools or field training) are preferred. We hope to attract students from diverse backgrounds, from small colleges as well as large universities, but student applicants should have completed a course in archaeological theory and methods. Courses in European prehistory are recommended. Each independent research project may require additional course work. Applicants must be prepared for the rigors of field and lab work and should have acquired some of the skills needed to begin their independent analytical research projects overseas or in the USA. 

How to apply: Please download the application form below. Eligible applicants must provide information about your academic standing, the upper-level anthropology and archaeology courses you have taken, and any field or lab training. Applicants will write a self-evaluation, choose one of the 10 independent research projects listed above, and write two short essays. You will also be asked to submit a list of grades for your college and university courses (or a transcript), and two recommendation forms from persons able to comment on your academic and personal qualifications for collaborative international research. 

For more information, please visit these websites: