Medicinal Trail Hinterland Communities Archaeological Project

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This listing expired on May 1, 2020. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Blue Creek, Orangewalk, Belize, Central America, US

Season: May 24, 2020 to June 17, 2020

Application Deadline: April 1, 2019

Deadline Type: Rolling

Program Type:
Field School, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

Western Colorado University

Project Director:
Dr. David M. Hyde, Western Colorado University (under a permit issued to Dr. Fred Valdez, Jr., Director of the Programme for Belize Archaeological Project, by the Belize Institute of Archaeology)

Project Description:

The Medicinal Trail Hinterland Communities Archaeological Project (MTHCAP) is located within the Programme for Belize conservation area, a 260,000-acre nature reserve in northwestern Belize. The research area is home to over 80 known ancient Maya sites, many rare birds, two species of monkeys, jaguars, and other fauna and flora of the tropics.


This is a 4 credit-hour course designed to introduce students to the methods used to collect and analyze archaeological data in a hands-on field setting. The course will take place over the span of 4 weeks at a remote archaeological field camp in Belize, Central America. Students will receive instruction in archaeological excavations, making technical drawings, survey and instrument mapping, and basic field laboratory procedures at the Medicinal Trail Site. In addition, students will have the opportunity to learn about the Prehispanic Maya through lectures and field trips.


During this unique program you will spend four weeks living and working in a professional archaeological camp in northwestern Belize. This is an intense program, during which you will spend 6 days/week excavating and participating in related activities at the ancient Maya community of Medicinal Trail. The program is an experience you will remember for years as it provides not only a tremendous learning experience but also an opportunity for personal growth and exposure to the culture of the Latin American/Caribbean area.


Through hands on experience, you will learn the general aspects of field archaeology: excavation, survey, mapping, artifact processing, and artifact analysis.


Education is through a hands-on practical course that will require strenuous physical activity and manual dexterity. Field and lab training will be supplemented by occasional lectures, but most of the course is practical. All project participants will have the opportunity to participate in various aspects of archaeological fieldwork.


MTHCAP operates under a permit issued through the Institute of Archaeology to Dr. Fred Valdez, Director of the Programme for Belize Archaeology Project (PfBAP). The field school dates are May 24 to June 17. There is an optional trip to Tikal and Caye Caulker June 17-21

Period(s) of Occupation: Middle Preclassic through Terminal Classic (500 BC - AD 900)

Maya Archaeology, Tropical Rainforest, Mesoamerica, Belize, Household Archaeology

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: None required

Room and Board Arrangements:
Program fees cover the cost of room & board, and the group will be staying in the R.E.W. Adams Research Station. We will be sharing the camp with field schools from across the United States providing participants the opportunity to meet and interact with students and researchers from a wide range of backgrounds.     The Adams Research Station includes a lab, kitchen & dining hall, dorm building and platforms for tents. Students will have the option of sharing a tent with one person, or a dorm room with 3 other individuals. Cost: The cost of the program is $2300 which includes: • Room and board while in camp. • Project-related ground transportation • Laundry service once per week • Use of necessary field equipment and supplies • Operational and administrative costs and fees • Weekend field trips to archaeological sites

Academic Credit:
4-credit hours credits offered by Western Colorado University. Tuition is $800 ($200 per credit).

Contact Information:

David MM. Hyde

600 N. Adams Street





Phone: 970-943-2222

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