Dr. Rissa M. Trachman, RPA

Elon University

student crew 2009                    







Summer Archaeology in Belize

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. 

Field school students will stay in the R.E.W. Adams Research Facility (the archaeology camp) situated 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 am                   Early rise to prepare for the field day and perform camp chores

6:30 am                   Breakfast and pack lunch and water in day packs

7:00-7:30 am      Leave camp-- drive then hike to archaeological site (Dos Hombres)

8:00 am                   Field instruction and field work

11:30 am                Lunch in the field

3:30 pm                   Leave the field-- hike then drive back to camp

4:30 pm                   Arrive back in camp

4:30-6:00 pm      Shower and free time until dinner

6:00 pm                   Dinner

7:00 pm                   Lectures and other presentations or free time

8:30 pm                   Quiet time, conversations must be a whisper at this time

9:00 pm                   Lights out

Tentative Itinerary for 2023


Camp Life

The living situation includes full time camping in either tents or the semi-permanent dorm structure.  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 of the forest and its resources.

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

                       something similar, is also available for free, and bottled water and

                       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.


(non-Elon students MUST purchase travel and health insurace, required)

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), see also the list below.





ArchAerial Video of the archaeology of Dos Hombres

Summer 2024 Field School

May 19 - June 12/16

(optional trip at the end; 4 days)

Contact Dr. Trachman with questions

Application and Due Dates

  • Priority Application Deadline February 23
  • Final Application Deadline extended to March 31, 2024
  • April 1, 2024 - Balance of fees DUE
  • APRIL 23, 2024; All forms and passport copy due
  • May 1, 2024; Flight Itinerary and Proof of International Travel Health Insurance Due