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Thursday, February 7, 2013

4 Mesoamerican Digs for 2013


With the hype of 2012 and bad interpretations of Mayan dating techniques finally behind us, it's time to get down to the real work that is archaeology in Mesoamerica, allowing us to better understand the real history of the Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs in that part of the world.

From exciting sites that offer a glimpse of the relatively simple lives lead by America's ancient peoples, to the honor of finding yourself in the midst of of large and magnificent ruins, volunteer opportunities abound where South and Central American archaeological digs are concerned. Here is a look at four of the prime volunteer and student-friendly Mesoamerican digs that will be taking place in 2013:

1. Belize Valley Archaeological Projects

Over two sessions that will take place in June and August of 2013, the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project will be conducting work at the site known as Baking Pot, an area rich in camping remains, and playing host to two groups of monumental architecture.

This summer's research will focus narrowly on one area in particular: the monumental center at a palace complex known to those working at the site as Group B. Those on site will be working towards clearing sections of the structures and courtyards in an effort to uncover new artifacts and develop a more thorough understanding of the chronology and heritage of the site.

And those who strive for more fun than ancient civilizations offer, can use car rental services of companies like Cheapcarrental.net and dig for a little more action at Mexico's world renown resorts such as Cancun, which is less than 300 miles away from Belize!

2. Blue Creek Project

If the past few years of silliness surrounding the Mayan people and their dating methods have lead you to a natural curiosity about the facts behind their works and lives, the Maya Research Program and its Blue Creek Project is the place for you.

For the 21st year in a row, this American group will sponsor extensive fieldwork at the Mayan site called Blue Creek, located in northwestern Belize, offering everyone involved the opportunity to discover the fascinating reality of Mayan existence.

The project will be open to students and non-students alike, and experience - or lack thereof - is not a concern in the application process. With academic credit and even scholarships available, this project is well-worth checking out for anyone with a working interest in archaeology.

3. Oaxaca, Mexico

For the third straight year, Indiana University will be playing host to anthropology faculty members, students, and outside volunteers for their field program based in Oaxaca, Mexico. With a focus on archaeology that often finds itself embracing modern anthropology, this course will introduce students to the wide range of diversity in this region, ranging from the ancient Maya to the current inhabitants.

While some of the course's planned activity will involve active time at dig sites, you'll also have the opportunity to attend local festivals and learn about the modern issues, both economic and ecological, facing Oaxaca's people.

4. Project Roatan, Honduras

The University of South Florida is set to host a fantastic learning opportunity for burgeoning archaeologists with a passion for Mesoamerica with its Mesoamerican Archaeology Field School. Taking students on a five-week journey through the history of the pirates and puritans who dominated the Caribbean in the 16th and 17th centuries, the course will focus its attention on the excavation of the English and Pech settlements located at New Port Royal and Camp Bay Village.

Students attending this once-in-a-lifetime course will learn to use archaeological methods to answer the questions that face us in exploring the history of those who came before us, offering a strong base for any historian and archaeologist.

Guest Post Contributor: Jessie Troy

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Archaeology in Action 2014

Dr. Brian Redmond, curator of archaeology, discusses working at the Burrell Orchard site earlier this summer. The Archaeology in Action field school is open to adult museum members. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.cmnh.org/ArchaeologyinAction.

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