Fieldwork opportunity--cave archaeology in Belize

Mon, 13 Jan 1997 14:45:06 -0500

Announcing the BVAR Regional Cave Project in Belize, 1997

The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project will be conducting
archaeological research within various caves in Belize, Central America in
May, 1997. This regional study will involve caves previously investigated
in the 1996 season, including Actun Tunichil Muknal (Stone Sepulchre), and
a number of caves recently discovered. The archaeological material under
investigation include elite burials, stone monuments, cave art and
carving. The project will focus upon interpreting the role of caves in
the culture of the ancient Maya.

Dr. Jaime Awe will be directing the archaeological investigations in the
caves, which will include extensive exploration of cave sites, survey,
mapping of rooms and artifacts, typing of pottery, artifact tabulation,
data recording, and excavation. Dr. Awe was the first archaeologist to
explore Actun Tunichil Muknal, and his preliminary exploration of this
exotic cave site was featured in a 1993 National Geographic Explorer
documentary film titled, "Journey Through the Underworld."

In addition to tabulation and mapping of the caves' numerous cultural
remains, the project will also include laboratory efforts where
participants will be exposed to ceramic and lithic analyses and
preliminary analysis of human remains. Lectures will be held weekly and
will provide an overview of Maya civilization with a particular focus on
ideology and cosmology relating to the use of caves by prehistoric Maya.

This Field Research opportunity will run for two sessions:

Session 1: 5 May to 16 May, 1997
Session 2: 19 May to 30 May, 1997

Due to the strenuous and dangerous nature of cave reconnaissance it is
imperative that volunteers be in excellent physical condition and at least
18 years of age. Prior spelunking experience is preferred. Registration
fees for the project are $800 U.S. which includes lodging, weekday meals,
and transportation to and from the cave sites. Travel to and from Belize
and incidental expenses are the responsibility of the participant.

For applications and more information, all interested parties should
respond via e-mail to Cameron Griffith,
Co-Director, at: