Thank you for supporting archaeological science at UCLA’s Cotsen Institute! Though our crowdfunding campaign may be over, there are still ways that you can support our research and get involved here - be sure to include that your gift is for archaeological science!

Support Archaeological Science at UCLA!

Raised toward our $15,000 Goal
66 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on January 01, at 12:00 AM PST
Project Owners

Support Archaeological Science at UCLA!

Who Are We?

We are the students and lab directors working on ancient materials, using archaeological science to make sense of our collective past, and we rely on the resources available through the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA.  The Cotsen Institute is a premier research organization dedicated to the creation, dissemination, and conservation of archaeological knowledge and heritage, and it's in the archaeological science labs where much of this work takes place.


The labs are dedicated to conducting scientific research to help answer questions about past cultures and understand how people lived and how they interacted with their environment and each other. We specialize in areas such as ancient technology, experimental archaeology, materials analysis, ancient agriculture, paleoethnobotany, and zooarchaeology.


The work we do requires the use of the latest scientific equipment to answer our research questions.  With these technologies in our tool kit we have the potential to revolutionize archaeological research. Your donation will help us purchase the equipment we need to continue this important research and train the next generation of archaeological scientists.


The Challenges Facing our Students 

Graduate student uses PLM for starch grain analysis

The effects of COVID on the UCLA community and the safety measures put in place for the reopening of our labs, have presented many challenges to our research. The closure of the campus earlier this year and the current restricted access to the labs has had a huge impact on graduate student research resulting in some students not being able to complete their degrees on time. In addition, several labs do not have enough equipment available for everyone's research needs. Not having the resources we need to conduct our research, coupled with restricted access due to COVID mitigation, means some projects have been put on hold or research has been severely slowed down.


PXRF analysis of Armenian geological obsidianThe archaeological science labs need to be equipped with the latest equipment so that we can conduct our research. We also need to have enough of these lab resources available so that graduate students and researchers have what they need to to continue their work. Having additional equipment that can be taken home so that students can conduct their research off campus is essential during this time when access is limited and resources are scarce due to the current public health crisis.

By helping the labs stay up to date with the latest technology used in archaeological science, we can make UCLA a leader in this field and provide numerous research and educational opportunities for our fellow Bruins.


Graduate students preparing ceramic samples in the lab.   Graduate student prepares samples for starch analysis

How YOU Can Help

Archaeology helps us understand the rich complexity of how humans have balanced natural and social environments through time. These data and methods can be used to help meet the many challenges currently facing the world. We have much to learn from the human past and with your support, you will help us do just that!

Your generous gift will help us buy equipment that will be used to continue and improve our archaeological research. No donation is too small!

Our Team

The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology is a research unit which provides collaborative space for 10 UCLA departments (Anthropology, Art History, Asian Languages and Cultures, Chicana/o Studies, Classics, Conservation, Information Studies, Materials Science and Engineering, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior). The Institute is home to 21 distinct laboratories, 32 graduate students and 35 faculty, researchers, and innovators who come together to explore and understand our common past. We aim to use this knowledge to help us answer modern-day problems. We are a large and diverse group of people with our particular interests but we are all united by our love for archaeology and appreciation of our global cultural heritage.  But we don't just study the past, we also actively engage in conservation and preservation of these sites and artifacts, and we share our work through presentations, lectures, and community outreach!

Archaeologists and guests during the annual Cotsen Institute Open House

Our graduate students and researchers actively participate in outreach activities around the greater Los Angeles area, visiting K-12 students to promote archaeological sciences. We are a strong advocate for not only archaeology (and Social Sciences as a whole) but also STEM fields, as so many of us use STEM driven methods to learn about past societies and human behavior. We hold annual Open House events for the general public during which our labs showcase the type of research we do and how we do it, but we also take our labs to various schools for youth outreach events. All our efforts always combine two things everyone loves - artifacts and food!


Children participate in an archaeological dig activity


Our way
of Thanking You


Thank you!

No gift is too small and your donation of $10 will be put to immediate use to purchase sample preparation supplies, like microscope slides, sample vials and hand tools!

10 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: January 2021


We are so grateful!

We are so grateful for your donation! Your gift will be used towards some of the smaller lab equipment such as the microscope stage attachment and ultrasonic cleaner. Every little bit helps us get closer to buying what we need to examine and analyze all our archaeological samples!

3 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: January 2021


Backdirt magazine

For your generous donation of $100 you will receive a copy of Backdirt, the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology annual magazine

5 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: February 2021



For your generous donation of $250, you will receive a Cotsen Institute of Archaeology water bottle. (tax deductible donation of $245).

2 of 24 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2020


Virtual Tour

For your generous donation of $500, you will receive a virtual tour of one of the labs who benefited from your gift

2 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: June 2021


Meet a lab director

With a generous donation of $1000 or more, you get to meet with one of the Cotsen Institute lab directors via Zoom.

0 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2020


Cotsen Press book and more!

Your generous donation of $5000 or more will get you a free book published from the Cotsen Institute Press along with a copy of Backdirt, the Cotsen Annual magazine, a virtual tour of a lab that benefited from your donation and a meeting with one of the lab directors!

0 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: June 2021
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