Over the past two weeks, we have been working hard on the Cahal Pech site, located on the southern outskirts of San Ignacio Town, in the upper Belize Valley region of western Belize. Throughout the long, sweat-filled days of the second week, we were able to clean and close-up the site for the season — and head to Placencia…Read More
On Saturday July 27th in Belize, the other AFAR students and I climbed into vans to endure the grueling two hour bus ride to Lamanai, old Mayan ruins located near the New River. Upon arrival, we were greeted by our superb tour guide Carlos, who showed us where we were on the map, where we were going (Lamanai) and where we had come from (San Ignacio). Since Lamanai is in the depths of the jungle, to get to the ruins you must travel another hour by boat on the New River.Read More
One thing that AFAR students and ancient Maya civilizations have in common is their competitive spirit through ball games. Though the Maya ball game and soccer differ greatly, there is one common goal and it is to win on the field of play.
On the first Tuesday night after arriving, a group of us went down the hill to a park with soccer fields, basketball courts, and volleyball nets, to challenge the local Belizean soccer players. This proved to be quite the challenge, much like defeating the Death Gods of the Underworld.Read More
Portugal is a small country of 10 million friendly people known for its diverse regions, including coastal areas, mountainous areas and the plains. With breath-taking landscapes, amazing beaches and an incredible amount of historical monuments, it’s one of the oldest cities in Europe. It’s also the place that Inês Vaz Pinto calls home and where she discovered her love of history which led her to a career in Archaeology. Today, in the tourist resort town of Tróia, she serves as site manager where she conducts field research, enhancements and conservation of this historic site. For two weeks each summer, AFAR students work alongside Ines and her team to uncover pieces of Portugal’s past.Read More
After a total of four weeks working on the Spain project, I thought that I would be able to transition to the Portugal project without facing a difficult adjustment to a new environment. However, the variety of cultures that gathered to excavate the site in Troia was baffling to me.Read More
While having local workers help you on the site of Mieza, Greece, is extremely helpful, it is often difficult to interact with them. Each “tetragono” on site has one or two workers to help keep the excavation process moving along. A “tetragono” is the Greek name of a square unit. On the site of Mieza, each unit is 4x4-meters so there’s certainly a large amount of dirt to go through.Read More
One of my favorite things to do on any of the past AFAR trips has been to try and play soccer in each of the countries. I’m happy to say that I was able to continue this activity in Greece this summer.Read More
When it’s breakfast time many of us reach for an easy meal: toast. Now, we come to the difficult decision of what to put on it. Many of us will choose to spread jam, butter, chocolate hazelnut spread, or even peanut butter. Among other options, some of us may also use honey. At the hotel in Zorita, we have fresh honey on hand to satisfy our sweet tooth; the delicious honey is locally farmed by a nearby friend, Rodrigo.Read More
Waking up at 6:00 AM on a summer morning doesn’t sound appealing for most teenagers, but when you get to find such (interesting) artifacts, waking up isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Hi, my name is Bennett Harris and I am a first time AFAR student. I have attended Davidson Day School for seven consecutive years and have been excited to attend Greece for years now. On Monday, July 1st we arrived at the Ancient City of Mieza with 12 of my friends and 5 chaperones….Read More
My main job on site in Portugal was excavating and preserving the mosaic floor tiles and pottery, all of which was found in ancient vats originally used to make fish sauce. Every day, I got to see amazing artistic patterns and styles manifested in objects that had been buried for centuries. While I loved learning about conservation techniques and the history behind simple things such as floor patterns, I was most fascinated by the reason that all the artifacts we uncovered were there in the first place - we were uncovering trash heaps.Read More
Despite being provided with an event calendar for the Portugual project prior to your arrival, the schedule is really just words and times. Here’s what you can expect during the project, based on what I have experienced so far.Read More
When school is back in session, many students ask the kids who spent the summer conducting archaeology research on AFAR projects a myriad of questions. Some of them are basic, like "Was it fun?" or "How was it this year?" Despite this initial burst of questions, more pointed questions are asked when it’s time to apply. The most important -- "Which project should I sign-up for?" The purpose of this article is to showcase what the Spain trip has to offer, and why it may be the right AFAR trip for you. Starting with number 5…Read More
“One rock is a rock. Two rocks are a coincidence. Three rocks are a wall.” This is the first lesson I was taught on the site of my first archaeological expedition. My second? One can never bring too many socks.
I was a little seventh grader who left the US for the first time to excavate an ancient castle in Spain with my two siblings, my father, and many friends. Even with my lack of knowledge, they threw me in headfirst with a trowel and brand new pair of gloves— which would later be lost to the well.
Work on the site can become very tiring and for this reason, we have excursions. This year in Spain, we traveled to Candeleda. Candeleda is a region that encompasses several mountainous areas with a myriad of large, naturally formed boulders and rocks. There are also large streams of water that flow down the mountains and over the rocks. Our group began the excursion by taking a half an hour hike through moderate terrain. On the hike we regularly stopped to enjoy the beautiful scenery filled with diverse, light green plant life. After finishing the hike, we were immediately greeted with a set of waterfalls. When we all jumped in…Read More
We caught up with Catalina high on a hilltop at the Zorita de los Canes project, not far from Madrid where she grew up. She’s in here element — surrounded by hard-working students conducting archaeology research for AFAR. Catalina speaks of her work as a privilege, rather than a job, and credits her love of travel and the outdoors guiding her to this life-long profession.Read More
The AFAR program that Davidson Day offers is truly extraordinary and incomparable to any experience I have ever participated in. Not only is the opportunity to excavate ancient archeological sites incredible, but the memories I’ve made throughout my time in the program have shaped many aspects of my life and have contributed to who I am as a person.
Being an “outsider” student from Kentucky, I originally joined the program with no expectations to avoid any form of disappointmentRead More
After a long day of excavation at the site Zorita de los Canes, our team enjoys nothing more than a relaxing visit to the Rio Tajo. At the river, our crew can be found swimming in its cool depths or swinging off of a rope swing that is located near its edge. Our group loves the river so much because the water is a lot colder than other rivers that we have grown accustomed to. This means that the hot and sweaty feeling we have from digging can disappear in an instant after entering the water. This refresher is a big part of our motivation through the rest of the day and it relaxes us so that we can be prepared for the next day on the site. It has become a tradition to visit the river everyday after excavation for this very reason.Read More
If you’re signed-up to ship-out this summer with AFAR to Belize, Spain, Portugal or Greece, you already have the official packing list to prepare you for fieldwork. But those in the know will tell you, there are certain essentials you’ll want to make room for – and a few things you may want to leave behind.
We reached out to AFAR veterans and alumni to ask them “what’s the one thing to bring?” besides your passport (duh!).Read More
The 9th Annual M@L Conference was held at Davidson Day School from April 25-28, 2019. This year, this legendary conference was co-organized by Mat Saunders (AFAR; Davidson Day School), Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire (Boundary End Center; AFAR; UNC-Asheville), and George Bey (Millsaps College), and highlighted recent research in the Northern Maya Lowlands. The many participants to the conference heard from 16 different presenters about all aspects of the archaeology and epigraphy of the Northern Yucatán Peninsula. Here’s a recap…Read More
After the big airport send-off, waving and blowing kisses and thinking of all the fun that you’re, ahem, your child, is going to have, it’s normal to feel apprehensive about staying in touch. Hands-on technology is replaced with shovels and tools and time away from screens. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of down time, which is the perfect time to dial-up dad. Here’s a few tips to bridge the gap, not to mention the time zone, and stay closely connected.Read More