Summer 2015 : MRP's 24th archaeological field season in Belize
The Site and Past Projects: Since 1992, research at the Maya center of Blue Creek has been MRP's flagship effort. Blue Creek was a wealthy polity with large monumental architecture. We have excavated much of the public and residential architecture, discovered one of the Maya area's largest caches of jade, and found a large-scale ancient agricultural system. (Click here for a brief site summary. Additional MRP publications are available here) Today MRP's projects have expanded to include the sites of Xnoha, Nojol Nah, and Grey Fox. MRP has been instrumental in documenting and protecting many Maya sites in northwest Belize. Over 3000 students and volunteers have participated in the project in the past 23 years. The current Blue Creek project team includes faculty members and graduate students from over a dozen universities worldwide. In addition, the Blue Creek field school has been certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists and is affiliated with the University of Texas at Tyler.
From May to July of each year, MRP hosts four two-week sessions for students and volunteers at Blue Creek. Everyone is a full participant in the effort and is involved with field excavations and laboratory work.
Scholarships and fellowships are available.
2015 Season Dates (must participate in at least one two-week session):
Session 1: Monday June 1 - Sunday June 14
Session 2: Monday June 15 - Sunday June 28
Session 3: Monday July 6 - Sunday July 19
Session 4: Monday July 20 - Sunday August 2
MRP's Maya Area Scholarly Imperative: Understanding the Nature of a Maya City and the Classic Collapse: In addition to the traditional focus of studying the monumental architecture and life-ways of the Maya kings, the excavation and research of sites in MRP’s permit area will help us to more fully understand the overall nature and pattern of the Maya city and landscape, the economy, and royal elite, non-royal elite and non-elite interaction. By understading each of these aspects of Maya culture MRP strives toward constructing a more comprehensive view of Maya civilization in this part of the Maya world. Research will also shed new light on the nature of the so-called Terminal Classic “collapse” and subsequent abandonment of the area as well as the Post-Classic reoccupation. Thanks to the length of time and extent of our investigations, MRP is in a unique position to analyze a wealth of data that will provide critical insights into these events and processes.
Nojol Nah, Xnoha, and Grey Fox: Xnoha, Nojol Nah, and Grey Fox are three major monumental site centers in our survey area west of the site of Blue Creek. There is much to be learned from these sites and they will be a focus of MRP's work at the Blue Creek Field Station for years to come. Mapping and excavation of these sites began in the 2008 and will continue in 2014.
Wetlands Agriculture: Led by Dr. Sheryl Luzzader-Beach and Dr. Tim Beach, we continue long term investigations of ancient wetland agricultural systems at Blue Creek and elsewhere in Northwestern Belize.
Caves Research: Dr. Holly Moyes will continue to document the amazing cave features in Northwestern Belize. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Application Process: The maximum number of participants for each 2-week session ranges from 25 to 35 students and volunteers. Participants will be accepted to the archaeology field school on a first come, first served basis. To enroll, the applicant should forward an enrollment form and appropriate deposit to the Maya Research Program.
Cost: The donation for a single two-week session for non-students is $ $1750 USD. A special first-session rate of $1500 is available to students currently enrolled in an accredited University or College. If more than one session is desired, the donation is $1200 for each additional session. (For instance, a student would pay $1500 USD for their first 2 week session and $1200 USD for their second 2 week session for a total of $2750 for 4 weeks. Students are encouraged to apply for a MRP scholarship to reduce thier cost to $1750 for 4 weeks. ) A non-refundable deposit of $250 per session is required to hold your spot. (Participants are responsible for their travel costs to Belize). If a student wishes to receive academic credit, tuition costs (via the University of Texas at Tyler or their home institution) will apply in addition to the required donation to the Maya Research Program.
Maya Research Program's expanded course offerings in archaeological field and laboratory techniques: The Maya Research Program offers specialized laboratory and field courses for students and volunteers in addition to the general archaeological field school. The specific study areas for the specialized laboratory and field courses are:
1. Laboratory and Field Methods: Artifact Analysis (ceramics, lithics, groundstone, obsidian) - limited to 5 persons in Session 3 only.
2. Laboratory and Field Methods: Bioarchaeology (the study of human skeletal remains) -limited to 10 persons in Session 3 only.
3. Laboratory and Field Methods: Photogrammetry and 3D Digital Modeling - Bob Warden, limited to 10 persons in Session 4 only.
Student participants can obtain academic credit through the University of Texas at Tyler or via their home institution through Independent Study and similar courses. Non UTT students can also take these classes through UTT as transient student (click here for the University of Tyler registrar’s webpage).
Individuals who do not wish to receive academic credit may also take these courses.
Cost for Specialized Laboratory and Field Methods : The donation for for a single two-week session for non-students is $2000 USD. A special first-session rate of $1750 is available to students currently enrolled in an accredited University or College. If more than one specialized session is desired, the donation is $1450 for each additional session. A non-refundable deposit of $250 per session is required to hold your spot. If a student wishes to receive academic credit, tuition costs (via UT Tyler or their home institution) will apply in addition to the required donation to the Maya Research Program.
Click here for the 22nd Annual Report of the Blue Creek Archaeological Project (2013). Additional publications are available here.