Location: Blue Creek, Belize
The Maya Research Program (MRP) is a non-profit organization (501 C3) that sponsors archaeological and ethnographic research in Middle America. Each summer since 1992, MRP has supported archaeological research in northwestern Belize. The Blue Creek Archaeological Project includes research at the sites of Blue Creek, Xnoha, Nojol Nah, Tamarindo, Tulix Mul, and Grey Fox (You can read many MRP publications here.)
MRP has been instrumental in documenting and protecting numerous Maya sites in northwestern Belize. Over 3000 students and volunteers have participated in the project in the past 24 years. The current Blue Creek project team includes faculty members and graduate students from over a dozen universities worldwide. In addition, the Blue Creek field school has been certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists and is affiliated with the University of Texas at Tyler.
2019 marks MRP’s Blue Creek Archaeological Project’s 28th archaeological field season in northwestern Belize. MRP is proud to support a vast range of talented researchers from across the globe under this project’s umbrella. Our research associates include not only archaeologists, but also soil scientists, geoarchaeologists, geographers, conservationists, cultural anthropologists, bioarchaeologists, and botanists.
From May to July of each year, MRP hosts four two-week sessions for students and volunteers at Blue Creek. Everyone is a full participant in the effort and is involved with field excavations and laboratory work. The MRP general field school provides participants with hands-on training in the fundamentals of archaeological field techniques. Participants will gain training and experience in archaeological excavation methods, manual and digital recording techniques, artifact recovery, processing and analysis. For more information on what to expect at MRP's archaeological field school - such as daily activities, housing, what to pack, etc - please review MRP's Participant Guide.
Scholarships and fellowships are available.
2019 Season Dates:
Application Process: The maximum number of participants for each 2-week session ranges from 20 to 25 students and volunteers. Participants will be accepted to the archaeology field school on a first come, first served basis. To enroll, the applicant should forward an enrollment form and appropriate deposit to the Maya Research Program. You should also read MRP's Participant Guide.
Cost: A special first-session rate of $1600 is available to students currently enrolled in an accredited University or College. If more than one session is desired, the donation is $1300 for each additional session. (For instance, a student would pay $1600 USD for their first 2 week session and $1300 USD for their second 2 week session for a total of $2900 for 4 weeks.) Students are encouraged to apply for a MRP scholarship to reduce thier cost to $1900 for 4 weeks.
The donation for a single two-week session for non-students is $ $1850 USD.
A non-refundable deposit of $250 per session is required to hold your spot. (Participants are responsible for their travel costs to Belize). If a student wishes to receive academic credit, tuition costs (via the University of Texas at Tyler or their home institution) will apply in addition to the required donation to the Maya Research Program.
Maya Research Program's expanded course offerings in archaeological field and laboratory techniques: The Maya Research Program offers specialized laboratory and field courses for students and volunteers in addition to the general archaeological field school. The specific study areas for the specialized laboratory and field courses are:
1. Bioarchaeology (the study of human skeletal remains) -limited to 12 persons in Session 3 only.
2. Photogrammetry and 3D Digital Modeling - limited to 10 persons in Session 4 only.
3. Laboratory Procedures, Artifact Analysis, and Conservation - limited to 10 persons in Session 3 only.
4. Scientific Illustration - limited to 10 persons in Session 2 only. (Pending)
Cost for Specialized Laboratory and Field Methods : A special first-session rate of $1850 is available to students currently enrolled in an accredited University or College. If more than one specialized session is desired, the donation is $1550 for each additional session.
The donation for for a single two-week session for non-students is $2100 USD.
Student participants can obtain academic credit through the University of Texas at Tyler or via their home institution through Independent Study and similar courses. Non UTT students can also take these classes through UTT as transient student (click here for the University of Tyler registrar’s webpage).
Individuals who do not wish to receive academic credit may also take these courses.
Period(s) of Occupation: Maya / Classic Period
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 2 weeks (one session)
Room and Board Arrangements
Our base station has a large central 2 story house (including a public lounge, library and kitchen) a laboratory building, a large shower/restroom building, a dining hall, and a large central palapa. Participants stay in residentail cabanas (maximum of 2 per cabana)
All meals are hearty and provided within the overall cost. All field equipment and supplies are also provided.
The Ancient Maya. By Heather McKillop, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Publishers, Santa Barbara (paper and e-book).
Forest of Kings (1990) Linda Schele & David Freidel, Wm. Morrow &Co.
Chronicles of Maya Kings (2001) Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube. Thames & Hudson.
The Nature of an Ancient Maya City: Resources, Interaction and Power at Blue Creek, Belize. (2007) Thomas Guderjan. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.