Texas Tech University

Field School in Maya Archaeology

Study Abroad at Chan Chich, Belize: 2017 Season

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 2017, we will be offering one regular summer session and one mini-session. We expect spaces to fill fast for both sessions.

Application Update (August 21, 2016):

We currently accepting applications for the 2017 season. See the link below for more information.

Quick Links

Why Choose this Field School?

Frequently Asked Questions

Accommodations at Chan Chich

Information Packet

Application Form for TTU Students

Application Form for non-TTU Students

Syllabus for ANTH 4642

Syllabus for ANTH 4000


Chan Chich, "It's Better Here"

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. The field school is conducted in association with the Chan Chich Archaeological Project. We have exciting plans for the 2017 season, and the experience is open to students at Texas Tech and elsewhere.


What is a Field School?

An archaeological field school is an intensive introduction to archaeological methods. 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 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. 


The Facilities: Chan Chich Lodge

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.


Who Can Participate?

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 each session is limited to nine students. The slots will be assigned to the most qualified students, but applying early will improve your chances of being accepted to the program because applications will be processed in two batches. 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.


About the Two Sessions 

The regular session is 28-nights long. Students can earn up to 6 hours of academic credit by taking a 6-hour course called Field Archaeology (ANTH 4642).

The mini-session is 14-nights long, and students can earn up to 3 hours of academic credit by taking ANTH 4000. Students have the option of enrolling in both sessions.

When is the Program?

Regular Session: May 29 to June 26, 2017. FULL
Mini-Session: June 28 to July 12, 2017.

How Much?

The estimated 2017 costs for new students are:

Regular Session (FULL)

Tuition*: ~$1,850 for 6 hours.
Program Fee: $2,650 
Airfare**: ~$500
Insurance: ~$40
Study Abroad Application Fee: $200
Spending Money (CASH): $300
Estimated Total: $5,540


Tuition*: ~$1,000 for 3 hours.
Program Fee: $1,325
Airfare**: ~$500
Insurance: ~$40
Study Abroad Application Fee: $200
Spending Money (CASH): $300
Estimated Total: $3,345

Both Sessions Combined

Tuition*: ~$1,850 for 6 hours.
Program Fee: $3,750
Airfare**: ~$500
Insurance: ~$40
Study Abroad Application Fee: $200
Spending Money (CASH): $300
Passport Extension: $25
2-night Break***: ~$200
Estimated Total: $6,885

*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.

***Students doing both sessions will be responsible for the costs associated with a break between sessions.


How to Apply and Deadlines

Returning students should email Dr. Houk for information on costs and spaces.

Updated February 6: The regular session is full, however there are still spots on the mini-session.

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. Non-TTU applicants must also send a $200 check to cover the Study Abroad application fee. This is a down payment that is refundable up until the application deadline and if you are denied admission. See the application form for more information.

Applications are reviewed in batches at the end of each month. Applications are not considered complete (and thus reviewable) until your references have been received and, if you are a non-TTU student, your application fee has been received. Applying early greatly increases your chance of being accepted to the program. The final application deadline is March 1, 2017. All application materials including references and application fee (for non-TTU students) must be received by March 1 to be considered.

If you miss the deadlines, email Dr. Houk to inquire about any available spots or to get listed on the waitlist.

Students who are accepted to the program will then be sent a link to apply online through Texas Tech University's Study Abroad program. 

Application Form for TTU Students

Application Form for non-TTU Students

More Information

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 158A. You can also call him at 806-834-8107.

Also, check out the Frequently Asked Questions and visit the Accommodations page.