The Anna O. Shepard Award, honors this scientist’s pioneering work in the analysis and description of pottery and ceramics from 1930 to 1973. Her technical foundation serves to integrate multiple methods of analysis in order to describe the chemical, physical and crystallographic properties of art and archaeological materials, the geological and natural resources used in their fabrication, and the archaeological and artistic interpretation of these data.

Anna Shepard reading a pyrometer to determine firing temperature. Coal firing experiments shown in the foreground, 1938-39. ©President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 2004.

Anna Shepard removing ceramic plaques after one of her firing experiments, 1938-39. ©President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 2004.

Anna Shepard at an archaeological site on the Hopi Reservation. Her research on the ceramics recovered from this site demonstrated that local clays were the source materials for the pottery. The firing experiments that she conducted are the basis for reconstructing the fuel sources and firing conditions used, as well as determining how various firing conditions affected the color of the finished pottery for different clay sources. Both photographs were taken by Harriet Cosgrove, an important early archaeological excavator in the American Southwest.


This award is presented by the AACS Division Executive Committee of ACerS to an individual(s), who has made outstanding contributions to materials science applied to art, archaeology, architecture, or cultural heritage. The contributions could be an artistic creation, an archaeological study, or significant materials research. Neither ACerS nor AACS membership is required to receive this award.

The Anna O. Shepard Award consists of a certificate of recognition, a $500 honorarium*, and a one-year membership in ACerS and the AACS Division for the award recipient(s).

Selection criteria will emphasize:

  • interrelated scientific inquiry and archaeological/cultural heritage materials study;2
  • collaborative and original approach to analytical methods;
  • investigation of interdependent relationships among chemical, physical and mineralogical properties of geological and environmental resources and material production;
  • experimental reverse engineering of materials in field or laboratory settings;1, 2
  • and / or significance to the nominee’s field.

Nomination process:

Submit the candidate’s curriculum vitae and a cover letter electronically to the AACS Division Chair by January 15 annually.

Glenn Gates
2020-2021 AACS Division Chair

*The division intends to support the award through ACerS annual division funds allocation as well as donations from the ACerS community. We are asking for donations for this award from ACerS members as well as industries. A donation to this award will be deposited in a specific fund for this purpose only You can send a check, made payable to The American Ceramic Society (add a note that your donation is for the “Anna O. Shepard Award”) and mail to:

The American Ceramic Society
Attn:  Ms. Erica Zimmerman
550 Polaris Parkway, Suite 510
Westerville, OH 43082

Alternatively, if you would like to donate using your credit card, call Erica at 614-794-5821.

1 Shepard, A. O. Ceramics for the Archaeologist. Publication 609, Carnegie Institute of Washington, Washington D.C., fifth edition (1965).

2 Shepard, A. O. “Ceramic Analysis: The lnterrrelations of Method; The Relationships of Analysts and Archaeologists.” Science and Archaeology, Edited by R. L. Brill, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 55–63 (1971).

Deadline for Nominations:

January 15 Annually