About the field school-
Students will be participating in original archaeological field research with Dr. Trachman from Elon University at the site of Dos Hombres, Belize. The field school format ensures students will have the academic rigor of learning about archaeological field methods, and ancient Maya culture, along with the experience and excitement of real archaeological discovery.
Elon field school students will stay in the R.E.W. Adams Research Facility (the archaeology camp) in combination with other field schools (i.e.. other field school students) from across the country. So you will have chance to meet students from other universities that will be conducting research on other sites in the program area. Other field schools will be from other universities including Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, California, and possibly Europe.
The Elon University Summer Archaeology in Belize field school is carried out in a conservation and management area that is somewhat remote. The Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area (RBCMA) is located in northwestern Belize and is comprised of 250,000 acres of protected tropical forest. As a result, students have a very unique opportunity to experience life in a communal/cooperative camp setting. Water, electricity, and the usual comforts of home are limited at best and many of them, such as TV and internet, are not available in camp.
Physical Requirements—Students will be required to participate in every aspect of the archaeological fieldwork conducted during the research of the archaeological site, both in the field and in the field laboratory. In order to participate in the daily fieldwork, students will need to be physically able to hike one hour each day in order to access the site. Also many of the site tours will require this same physical ability. Summer in Belize is the rainy season and the climate ranges from hot and humid to cool and rainy. Students should anticipate both kinds of weather and should drink plenty of water at all times. The first day of the field school will be devoted to acclimating (by drinking several liters of water) and orientations.
Outline of a Typical Field Day
Below is the schedule of a typical field day. There will also be 3 assigned "lab" days for each student during the field school. Lab days occur on a rotating basis.
6:00 a.m. Early rise to prepare for the field day and perform camp chores
6:30 a.m. Breakfast and pack lunch and water in day packs
7:00-7:30 a.m. Leave camp-- drive then hike to archaeological site (Dos Hombres)
8:00 a.m. Field instruction and field work
11:30 a.m. Lunch in the field
3:30 p.m. Leave the field-- hike then drive back to camp
4:30 p.m. Arrive back in camp
4:30-6:00 p.m. Shower and free time until dinner
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:00 p.m. Lectures and other presentations or free time
8:30 p.m. Quiet time, conversations must be a whisper at this time
9:00 p.m. Lights out
The living situation includes full time camping in either tents or the semi-permanent dorm structure. Given the remote location there is no running water. We pay for and pump every gallon of water we use from an ancient Maya well that is still in operation. For showering, water is pumped to cisterns that are raised high on platforms to gravity feed our shower facility. Though there is no actual shortage of water, we are very conservation minded about showering in the spirit of sustainability as well as the expense to pump from the well. Therefore, students are expected to conserve the shower water by not allowing the water to run for the duration of showering and there is no means of hot water. All students and staff take “camp showers” in which the water is turned off between soaping and rinsing. Drinking water is the only water that is not conserved. Everyone is repeatedly encouraged to drink as much water as possible. Electricity is generated by a 10,000 watt generator that runs approximately three hours in the morning to provide light for preparing our breakfast and three hours in the evening for reading and study. Additional light or electricity is sometimes available (on sunny days) from electricity generated by solar panels.
Camp life— The archaeology camp is set up to be a communal living situation. All students will be expected to adjust accordingly and will be graded as to their cooperation and conservation.
Food: Local cooks are hired to prepare Belizean-style food for meals. Special diet needs are difficult to accommodate, and should not be expected. However, we have found that in general vegetarians diets work okay if you eat eggs and dairy.
Breakfast: beans, eggs, oatmeal, boiled plantains, cheese, buns, tortillas, fruit
(e.g. watermelon or bananas), coffee, tea
Lunch: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, canned tuna, canned meat
products, breakfast leftovers, fruit, tortillas, buns
Dinner: beans, rice, vegetables, chicken, beef, or pork, and fruit
Drinks: filtered water is available 24 hours/day every day, "Kool-Aid", or
similar, is also available for free, and bottled water
bottled water and
sodas are available for purchase
sodas are available for purchase
Camp Chores: Camp chores will be assigned to each student on a rotating weekly basis. Camp chores include camp clean up, kitchen cleaning duty, washing dinner dishes, sweeping dorm and lab, vehicle maintenance (supervised), recording water storage tank levels, and taking compostable trash to the eco- friendly biodegradable trash pit. Students are expected to be able to cooperate in the carrying out of their camp duties and will be graded accordingly.
Health- PLEASE CONSULT WITH ELON INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS FOR INFORMATION ON REQIRED INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE
Students should be sure that recent medical and dental exams demonstrate that you are in good health before travel.
Immunizations: No immunizations are required, but please consult with your physician or a travel medicine specialist
Malaria prevention: Preventive malaria medication is also not required but in Belize you may be at risk for contracting Malaria. Please consult a travel health professional to decide if you should take preventative medication.
What to bring-
You will need to have a passport and 2-3 copies of the photo page (one to be turned in to Dr. Trachman).