Translating In Tróia Can Be Tricky

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
PortugalSydney Brown
Excavating the Language Barrier

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
GreeceCaleb Tate
Soccer with a View

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
GreeceCaleb Tate
Can you BEElieve This???

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
SpainWinter Hamme
10cm Down

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
GreeceBennett Harris
One Man's Trash

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
PortugalSydney Brown
Top 5 Reasons to Pick the Spain Project

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
SpainRiver Hamme
My Archaeology Ground Zero

“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.

Read More
Leave Your Comfort Zone at Home! Candeleda Boosts Confidence and Comradery

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
SpainSean Confoy
Meet Catalina Urquijo: Program Director and AFAR On-Site Archaeologist

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
AFAR from an "Outsiders" Perspective

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 disappointment

Read More
SpainNatalie Schory
Relaxing in the Rio Tajo is a Cool Slice of the Spain Project

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
SpainSean Confoy
Tips from Alumni to Help Pack Light and Travel Smart

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
Sherri Johnson
Summary of the 9th Annual Maya at the Lago Conference

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
Sherri Johnson
Hello???  Here’s How to Stay in Touch with your AFAR Archaeologist

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
Sherri Johnson
Packs with Pride: The Story Behind AFAR's Amazing Artwork

Patches are a way to show off the dedication, hard work and accomplishment that goes with each project.  As students move through the projects (students are eligible in 8th grade and can jump to new projects as they get older) they achieve new patches.  These symbols of pride are sewn on each student’s hydration pack, which is essential in the summer heat, and visible on-site and throughout the student’s global travels.

Read More
Sherri Johnson
Operational Excellence: Meet Deb Strachan

Deb Strachan is a mother of four, former financial analyst, friend to many and for the past 8 years, Operations Manager for AFAR.  She never set out to be point-person for an archaeological non-profit.  The job simply found her – by way of her children. 

Rewind to nearly a decade ago…

Read More
Sherri Johnson
Announcing New AFAR Publications

The AFAR program is excited to introduce new handbooks to acquaint students and volunteers with each archaeological site. The publications for Belize, Spain, Portugal and Greece took just under four months to create, with Davidson Day students serving as part of the editorial staff.

Read More
Sherri Johnson
EXPLORING THE NORTHERN YUCATAN AT THE NINTH ANNUAL M@L, April 25-28

Maya at the Lago is an inclusive conference that brings together members of the public, lifelong learners, pre-collegiate students to listen and interact with established and young scholars of all things Maya. The event is centered on Davidson Day School, 20 min north of Charlotte – an easy 10-minute stroll from the nearby conference hotel, the Davidson Homewood Suite. The conference includes hands-on workshops on hieroglyphic writing (both introductory and advanced), along with interactive lectures and fun social gatherings.

Read More
Sherri Johnson