The Maya Research Program at Blue Creek
When we think of the ancient Maya civilization, the monumental centers of Tikal, Palenque, Chichen Itza, and Copan usually come to mind. These, however, are only a few of the countless ancient sites, many of which, though known to exist, still lie unexcavated and unexplored. Still others are yet undiscovered, and their number is still a mystery. The jungle shrouds their secrets. The archaeologists who uncover and investigate these sites have many years of work ahead them before a complete picture of the Maya civilization, and how it mysteriously and suddenly declined, emerges.
A comparatively small site in northwestern Belize promises to add an important chapter to the story. It will help answer questions about how a medium-sized community of approximately 20,000 people managed to support an unusually wealthy class of residents and a large public precinct surrounded by numerous, well-defined residential structures and agricultural components. Known as Blue Creek, scientists at this site have uncovered a large number of exotic goods, unusual for a community of this size. It is thought that its strategic location, in combination with the techniques the ancient inhabitants employed in agricultural production, defined the foundation for its wealth.
Dr. Thomas Guderjan of the Maya Research Program (MRP) is leading a team of archaeologists and other professional staff to find answers to the questions surrounding the site. In 2012, the team will be returning to continue excavations.They are calling for students and volunteers to join them for their 2012 season, which begins May 28 and runs through July 29.
The Field School
Participants will receive training in field and laboratory techniques as well as receive a "crash course" on the Maya and archaeological methodology The Field School is certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists (see participant guide at http://www.mayaresearchprogram.org/web-content/helpdig_form.html). Accommodation is at the Blue Creek research station, which has 35 small residential cabanas, a 1500 square foot laboratory building, a main building with a dining hall, and men's and women's restrooms and showers. All meals, equipment and supplies are provided. There will be four two-week sessions. Participants are welcome to join any or all of them.
For the student or enthusiast of Maya archaeology, the Blue Creek experience represents one of the best field school opportunities available for this region of the world. It is open to all, regardless of experience. Academic credit and scholarships are available.
The 2012 Field Season Dates are:
Session 1: Monday May 28 - Sunday June 10;
Session 2: Monday June 11 - Sunday June 24 ;
Session 3: Monday July 2 - Sunday July 15;
Session 4: Monday July 16 - Sunday July 29
For additional information please contact the Maya Research Program: