Subsequent to Lyent Russell’s death in 1998, the Board of the Society felt that it would be fitting to set up a grant that would supply funding for archaeologists working in Connecticut. There are many who work without institutional affiliation, making it difficult for them to secure grants that are largely confined to the academic community. Thus, there is a special need for funds to hire specialists and utilize some of the technologies, such as radiocarbon dating, that are becoming essential to local archaeology but the costs of which make it almost prohibitive for the unaffiliated individual to utilize.
Accordingly, in 1999, the Society solicited contributions which would constitute an endowment from which such funds could be drawn and awarded. The response was gratifying and was a true tribute to Lyent’s devotion and contributions to archaeology. It had been hoped that these donated funds could be left to grow to the point where the interest they generated would supply the awards without drawing down the endowment. The interest rates of the early 2000s made that growth slower than anticipated, but now, it has grown through further donations and interest to the point where the dream of a Russell Grant has become a reality.
Beginning in March of each year, a committee of the Society will be accepting applications from Society members for an award of from $500 to $800 to be announced at the Fall meeting of the Society. It is expected that the funds will be utilized within a year of the award. Preference will be given to those practicing archaeology as an avocation and/or without institutional affiliation, although no one who applies will be rejected for not meeting these criteria. Selection will also be based upon immediacy of need; i.e. the degree that a site is threatened and the shortness of the time frame within which research must be finished. It is also expected that once the research is completed the results will be shared with the Society in the form of a Bulletin or newsletter article. And the individual must be a current member of the Society.