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
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
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
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
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