Field School
Study Area
Field Camp
Schedule and Costs
Intensive training in archaeological survey, testing and excavation, with geoarchaeology and laboratory components, conducted in the outskirts of an Ancient Maya City.

Welcome to The Rio Bravo Archaeological Survey and Field School


       The Rio Bravo Archaeological Survey (RBAS) is a long-term, cutting-edge archaeological research project focused on deciphering the character and significance of ancient Maya households in an unexplored subtropical forest in Belize, Central America. This project, which is providing valuable insights into the day-to-day workings of Prehispanic Maya culture, has been attracting motivated students and volunteers for several years.  With its current focus on Prehispanic ceremonialism, ancient water management, and geo-archaeological research, the RBAS’ excavations and mapping efforts are now reaching their most interesting and dynamic phase. 

Field School Highlights    

  • First-hand discovery and investigation of the forest-covered remains of an ancient tropical community.
  • Learning the basics of field archaeology -- excavation, electronic survey, record-keeping, and geoarchaeology in a state-of-the-art field experience.
  • Earning 6 or 9 academic credits (or graduate credit) from the University or Texas (or participate as a volunteer) during four weeks of field investigation.
  • Mapping and excavating previously unseen, 1200-year-old Maya homes, terraces, reservoirs and other features
  • Carrying out archaeological reconnaissance in unexplored sections of a subtropical forest.
  • Performing soil tests as part of a geoarchaeological survey
  • Taking part in field investigations with students and volunteers from all over the United States.
  • Living in a modern archaeological research camp with students and staff from several universities and research projects.
  • Visiting restored and forest-covered temples, palaces, ball courts and other Maya structures at archaeological sites in Belize.
  • Visiting Maya archaeological sites in Mexico or Guatemala as part of guided, voluntary, post-field school travel.


Field School Summary:

  • Dates: for four-week session: June 17 – July 14, 2010 (Plus optional, 4-day post-field school voluntary travel)
  • Location: Programme for Belize Conservation and Management Area, Belize, Central America
  • Minimum Stay: 2 weeks
  • Academic Credit: 3, 6, or 9 undergraduate or graduate credits available; Non-credit Volunteers welcome.
  • Prerequisites:  None -- no class or field experience prerequisites. (But a formal application process with recommendations and final approval by the Director is required.)
  • Costs: Approximate anticipated cost for four weeks of food and housing in Belize, $1,925.
  • Accommodations: dormitory space and covered tent stations in a modern, comfortable archaeological field camp (large tents provided for those not in dormitory).
  • Who is eligible to apply?  Students and volunteers of varied ages from schools and communities from across the country take part in the field school.  Minimum age for applicants: 18.

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Page last modified: 18 January 2010