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New Podcast! Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things – Matt Piscitelli

Listen to the new podcast in the series Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things featuring AAA member, Matthew Piscitelli. Matthew has gotten creative with funding his next project.

Through my years of work as an archaeologist, I’ve always been amazed whenever I can hold something in my hand that no one has touched in the last 5,000 years.  Well, now I am asking your help to provide more such opportunities, and in the process, help preserve part of our global heritage.

I am currently applying for funding to support my archaeological dig in Peru this summer.  The results of the project will form the basis of my Ph.D. dissertation and eventually help me accomplish my goal of becoming a university professor.  I have had some success already applying to the National Geographic, my university (University of Illinois-Chicago), as well as my place of employment (The Field Museum).  I also have applications pending through the National Science Foundation and Wenner-Gren Foundation.

During this process of application, however, I had an idea that definitely falls outside of the box.  In general, scientific projects in any field are funded through the government, private organizations or through a network of wealthy donors that are somehow already connected to those scientists.  The general public hardly ever hears of these projects, let alone gets the opportunity to support these important scientific endeavors.  With the popularity of social networking, a recently developed fundraising tactic known as “crowdfunding” is beginning to be used to back small-scale inventions, innovators, entrepreneurs, etc.  So I thought, “why can’t that work for scientific projects like my own?”

I have signed up through Peerbackers, a well-known and trusted website (Google it) in order to test run this strategy.  I ask you all to check out my project, offer words of encouragement, contribute (always well-appreciated), and most importantly, spread the word.  Please Tweet, post a link to my project on Facebook, forward this post to friends and family, etc.  Don’t hesitate to respond with questions and comments.  As with any Ph.D. student, I would be more than happy to talk to you about my research!

Are you interested in sharing your extraordinary in an upcoming podcast? Click here to learn how.

2 Responses

  1. Crowdfunding is a great way forward for raising small amounts of cash for archaeological research. For successful stories of outreach through crowdfunded archaeology, you can check out:

    Roman DNA Project – http://www.rockethub.com/projects/3709-ancient-roman-dna-project and http://RomanDNAProject.org

    SVG Public Archaeology Program – http://www.rockethub.com/projects/3949-the-svg-public-archaeology-program

    Send John to the Jungle – http://www.rockethub.com/projects/3844-send-john-to-the-jungle

    And the original (at least, the first attempt at this that I saw, which inspired my Roman DNA Project) – The Maeander Project – http://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/fundraising-the-sound-of-a-ducks-feet/

    Plus, there are other anthropology blogs that have covered the growing trend in crowdfunding, like Doug Rocks-MacQueen – http://dougsarchaeology.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/crowd-sourcing-archaeology-funds-tip-of-the-iceberg-or-passing-fad/#more-1596

  2. [...] a creative anthropology student, who readers may recall his crowd-sourcing efforts for his upcoming research journey to [...]

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