Location: Magdalena, Colombia
The El Congo-Ciudad Antigua archaeological site is located on the western face of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range towards the upper section of the Rio Frio basin. The archaeological remains, which include a number of terrace structures, extend over more than 60 hectares, spreading down the slopes of narrow hillcrests from 900 to 600 meters elevation. Many of the remains are located within ProSierra’s El Congo research station and adjacent farms. The El Congo research station is an archaeological and biological conservation area owned by ProSierra since 1991, and the 2019 field season seeks to continue preliminary research that began in 2018.
Between 2006 and 2017, our research program concentrated on Teyuna-Ciudad Perdida Archaeological park and sites in the surrounding area, focusing on producing a better understanding of its construction sequence and layout. For 2019 and subsequent years, we are directing research towards the Rio Frío basin to compare inter-basin differences and similarities between sites and towns. El Congo-Ciudad Antigua is located a relatively short distance due west of Teyuna-Ciudad Perdida but in a completely different basin, such that we believe them to be part of two different polities. One of the general aims of the research program involves trying to investigate whether these political differences do or do not manifest themselves in architecture and material culture. During the field season, we will also be doing limited conservation work at a number of structures that have collapsed and need rebuilding. We will be working with a local conservation team led by Eduardo Mazuera. Given that some of these terraces may have buried occupations, stratigraphic details must be carefully recorded, and artifacts buried in terrace fill recovered and cataloged. Students will rotate between the excavation and conservation teams.
Period(s) of Occupation: Pre-Columbian
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Students must stay for the duration of the program.
Room and Board Arrangements
Conditions are basic, there is no hot water, and you will be sleeping on bunk beds or field cots in a gender-separated single room structure. All meals will be communal events at the kitchen and will provide plenty of food prepared by a local cook. The daily diet is based on rice, corn cakes, manioc, potatoes, plantains, lentils, beans, meat (beef, pork, chicken and fish) and when available, vegetables and fruit juice. Vegetarians may attend but will find that vegetable and fruit availability vary as the season progresses and we use up our store of fresh produce. Vegan, kosher, and other specialized diets are impossible to accommodate in a remote location such as this one.
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