Location: Hualcayán, Ancash, Peru
Join PIARA in the spectacular Andean highlands of Peru! We offer an exciting field school course, Analytical Methods in Archaeology, where students focus their studies on a particular analytical specialty in addition to gaining experience in fundamental field and laboratory skills. In 2018, students will excavate monumental tombs and ritual spaces at Hualcayán, then focus their studies on one of the following methodological concentrations: Bioarchaeology or Artifact Analysis. Students will also participate in supplementary Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and 3D Photogrammetry training. Students who participate in the field school will thus not only learn the essential skills required of field archaeologists (mapping, excavation, artifact processing, etc.), but also gain exposure to a range of specialized methods that are shaping innovations in the field today. During the field school, participants will live and work in the rural, bilingual Quechua/Spanish-speaking community of Hualcayán (highland Ancash, Peru), as well as travel to important archaeological sites and museums in three cities and visit stunning natural features likes high altitude lagoons and glaciers.
Since 2011, nearly 150 students from around the world have completed the PIARA archaeological field school at Hualcayán. Hualcayán is located in the stunning Cordillera Blanca mountain range of the Peruvian Andes, situated below the famous Alpamayo glacier in the Huascarán National Park: a UNESCO World Heritage Site protected for its rare beauty and unique ecosystem. We invite you to come experience this amazing landscape, its people, and its ancient past!
What You Will Learn
The course Analytical Methods in Archaeology is a unique, intensive learning experience that provides detailed training in a variety of important methods used in archaeological investigation. Students will split their time between learning general field and laboratory techniques and concentrating on their chosen analytical method. They will also attend weekly lectures and discuss readings on Andean prehistory.
Through both targeted training and daily practice, student participants will learn how to properly lay out excavation units, how to draw plan maps and profiles of stratigraphic and architectural features, and how to digitally record and visualize data using iPads in the field. Regardless of their chosen concentration, students will attend workshops on artifact processing, analysis, and illustration, bioarchaeology, total station mapping, soil flotation, and textile analysis, with optional training in GIS and 3D photogrammetry. At the end of the field school, students will present the results of a group analysis project based on their chosen concentration.
Period(s) of Occupation: Prehistoric Andes. Ancient Hualcayán was occupied for nearly four millennia between 2400 BC and AD 1450.
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full length of one session
Room and Board Arrangements
You will live in the heart of a traditional Quechua community in a rural setting, providing an immersed cultural experience. Hualcayán is a community totaling around 400 people, composed of bilingual Quechua/Spanish-speaking farmers growing quinoa, potatoes, beans, and wheat, and raising animals such as pigs, cows, chickens, and guinea pigs (called cuy). In 2012, PIARA constructed a project house with a large lab space, kitchen, bathrooms, showers, and several spacious sleeping quarters. This adobe and concrete building is a ten-minute walk from the archaeological site and will serve as our home, kitchen, classroom (with projector) and laboratory.
All participants are required to bring their own sleeping bag and sleeping mat for the floor (accepted applicants will receive a detailed supply list). Hualcayán has a beautiful view of the Callejón de Huaylas valley, and has several other archaeological and natural features within a short walking distance from the village including a waterfall, and students are encouraged to explore the area during free time. We also have a library of archaeology books to read and reference.
In the evenings at Hualcayán we will have a movie projector and movies to choose from. We also have a courtyard where you can socialize (or have an impromptu dance party!). A telephone will be available to make and receive international calls, but students are encouraged to arrive with international plans on their personal phones. Chores will rotate and include helping our cook prepare dinner, dishwashing, boiling water, getting lunch ready for the field, bathroom duty, and sweeping. Participants must be willing to live in close quarters with others (including Peruvian students who may not speak English), have a general attitude of cooperation, and have fun while working hard! Prior Spanish or Quechua language training will enrich this experience, but this is not a requirement as the course is instructed in English or Spanish.