Sama-Peru Archaeological Field School

This listing expired on April 16, 2020. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Sama (Tacna, Peru)

Season: July 4, 2020 to August 1, 2020

Application Deadline: February 17, 2020

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Washington University in St. Louis

Project Director:
Dr. Sarah Baitzel

Project Description:

Members of the Sama-Peru Archaeological Field School will participate in a multidisciplinary archaeological research project in southern Peru. Experience Andean culture and prehistory through excavations, lab work, lectures, and excursions. The project is located in Sama, an oasis valley in the northern Atacama Desert of southern Peru where hyperarid conditions have preserved evidence of human occupation over the past 10,000 years! Students will conduct archaeological excavations of households and burials at the site of Los Batanes, a descendant community of the Tiwanaku state, one of South America’s first complex societies (6th-11th century A.D.). Over the course of four weeks, students will acquire training in archaeological field research (excavation and survey). Because of the region’s outstanding preservation conditions, students will also have the opportunity to learn analyses and basic conservation techniques for a diverse range of materials – human remains, faunal bone, ceramics, lithics, and textiles – under the guidance of experts. Participants will learn how to analyze and interpret archaeological data that give insight into the conditions under which groups that originated in the Andean highlands settled near the coast and adapted to local environments a thousand years ago – a migration process that still defines the area today. This is an excellent opportunity for students considering a career in archaeology or related fields, or anyone looking for a different way to experience study abroad in a scientific context!

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 2 weeks

Minimum Age: 18 years

Experience Required: No previous experience is required. Basic knowledge of archaeological principals is recommended. Basic knowledge of Spanish recommended by not required.

Room and Board Arrangements:
In Sama, you will stay at our Project House in the community of Inclan. Conditions are rustic and students share accommodations. There is no heating; although days can be sunny and warm (~70 degrees F), nights are often chilly in the desert (~40 degrees F) and coastal fogs can bring light precipitations during the day. There is hot water at the project house, but because we live in the desert, water conservation is paramount and shower times are limited. The house also features a shared kitchen, common area, TV and DVD player, and table games. Electricity outlets (220V) are available in each bedroom. Weekly laundry service is included in the program fee. The area has cell phone service and internet access if students buy pay-as-you-go SIM cards from a local service provider (Claro, Movistar) or international data usage through their US cell phone provider. Bring a warm sleeping bag and bedsheets (if you want), thin mattresses are provided by the project; a jacket or warm fleece and scarf, and comfortable warm clothing for the evenings. Rain jackets are recommended for the field. If you are a light sleeper, earplugs and a sleeping mask are recommendable. Project meals include basic but nutritious food based on local cuisine and available resources served Monday through Saturday. Breakfast consists of coffee and tea, condensed milk, hot cereal, fresh bread, fruit, jam, and butter. Lunches are prepared and eaten at the field site and include sandwiches (cheese, vegetables), fruit, and cookies. Dinners are prepared by a local chef and usually include a soup (with vegetables, cereal, and chicken, meat, or eggs) and the main course. Students are responsible for meals on Sundays (except during excursions). The fully equipped kitchen in the project house can be used for this purpose. Students are required to participate daily in rotating light chores with a partner (e.g., washing dishes, preparing field lunches).

Academic Credit:
6 academic credits through Washington University in St. Louis

Contact Information:

Dr. Sarah Baitzel

Department of Anthropology 1114, WashU, 1 Brooking Drive

St. Louis



United States

Phone: (858) 336-7794

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