Welcome to the homepage for Texas Tech University's Field School in Maya Archaeology (FSMA) Study Abroad program. The FSMA is part of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, under the direction of Dr. Brett A. Houk of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Texas Tech.
In 2015, we will again be offering two summer sessions. Each session is limited to 12 first-time students, and we expect spaces to fill fast.
The field school will take place at the ancient Maya site of Chan Chich, Belize, in Central America. Chan Chich is tucked away in the jungles of northwestern Belize and is home to Chan Chich Lodge, a beautiful jungle lodge built in the main plaza of the site. Belize is an English speaking country with a stable government. It is easily reached from Texas on flights going through Dallas and Houston. Dr. Houk ran the Chan Chich Archaeological Project from 1996 to 2001, and the 2012 season renewed investigations of an important ancient Maya city. We have exciting plans for the 2015 season, and the experience is open to students at Texas Tech and elsewhere.
An archaeological field school is an intensive introduction to archaeological methods. The academic component of the program is a 6-hour course called Field Archaeology (ANTH 4642). Students learn how to excavate, how to draw maps and profiles, how to record archaeological data (using the CCAP's iPad-based digital data collection system), and how to look for and record new archaeological sites by surveying transects through the jungle. Students also learn how to process and analyze the artifacts found during excavations. Therefore, although students are learning by doing, they are also contributing directly to ongoing research on the ancient Maya. That's why we call this program a Research Abroad opportunity!
In 2015 students will be excavating ancient Maya ruins at Chan Chich and conducting initial testing at two late Colonial sites, a historic Maya village known as Kaxil Uinic and a British logging camp known as Qualm Hill.
The field school is open to college students who have completed one year of course work and have at least a 2.5 GPA, regardless of major. Space on the Belize program is limited to 12 new students per session. The slots will be assigned to the most qualified students, but applying early will improve your chances of being accepted to the program. Applications will be processed in two batches, so getting your application in early helps your chances of getting a slot tremendously.
Students must be physically capable of excavating and hiking in order to participate on the field school. Excavating entails lifting up to 25 pounds, swinging a pick, and using a shovel, in addition to more detailed work using a trowel and paint brush. Survey entails hiking through the jungle while wearing a backpack (carrying up to a gallon of water) and snake guards.
Texas Tech is offering two field sessions.The first session is 28 nights long, and the second session is 25 nights long.
First Session: May 18 to June 15, 2015
Second Session: June 15 to July 10, 2015
The field school is based at Chan Chich Lodge, which is located in the main plaza of the site. This makes getting to the field rather easy! Our project will be housed in cabanas at the lodge. The thatch-roofed cabanas will be fitted with bunk beds, and they have 24-hour electricity, ceiling fans, and private bathrooms with hot water. Up to 5 students will share a cabana; the exact number will depend on the numbers of men and women who are accepted to the program. We will be served our meals in the lodge's restaurant. The lodge has wireless internet in the restaurant and bar, cell phone coverage, and a screened-in swimming pool with hot tub.
The estimated 2015 costs for new students are:
Tuition*: ~$1,850 for 6 hours.
Program Fee: $3,100 for First Session (28 nights) or $2,900 for Second Session (25 nights). This fee may go down, but it will not go up.
Study Abroad Application Fee: $200
Spending Money: $300
*Tuition estimate is for in-state tuition and fees at Texas Tech University. All students at universities in Texas are required to register for credit at Texas Tech. Students from other universities should see the information packet for additional information on credit.
**Students purchase their own airfare and make their own travel arrangements to the Belize international airport.
Returning students should email Dr. Houk for information on costs and spaces.
There is a two-part application process for the field school. First, fill out a field school application form and mail or email it to Dr. Houk. Students who are accepted to the program will then be sent a link to apply online through Texas Tech University's Study Abroad program.
All applications for the program go through a review process. Acceptance to a study abroad program is based on this review, fulfillment of GPA and academic requirements, and approval by the program sponsor.
Please note that applications for both sessions will be reviewed together in two batches, so applying early greatly helps your chances of getting a slot.
First Round of Applications Reviewed: December 15, 2013 (with notification by December 22, 2015)
Final Round of Applications Reviewed: January 31, 2015 (with notification by February 7, 2015).
For more information, please download the information packet for new students. See the list of frequently asked questions. If you have any other questions, please email Dr. Brett A. Houk or stop by his office in Holden Hall, Room 277. You can also call him at 806-834-8107.