ISU Student Maya Research Opportunity in the Mirador Basin, Guatemala

Idaho State University/ FARES

Field Methods & Research / Maya Hieroglyphic Writing       

ISU’s Guatemala Archaeological Research Program is located in the remote Mirador Basin in the northern department of Peten. The research encompasses one of the most exciting research projects on the ancient Maya, and is focusing on the origins, incipient dynamics, and collapse of Preclassic Maya civilization.  Under the direction of Dr. Richard Hansen, you will have the opportunity for research and exploration in the largest and earliest ancient Maya cities with teams of scholars from a variety of disciplines.  The ISU field school offers the student the opportunity to be on    the cutting edge in the application of sophisticated technology, excavation and research strategies and methodologies, innovative conservation measures, and theoretical considerations relative to the origins and demise of complex societies.  Experts and scholars from more than 52 universities and research institutions will provide the intellectual backdrop.   In addition, Epigrapher Stanley Guenter will teach an Introductory Maya Hieroglyphic Writing course which will allow students to know and understand the fundamentals of Maya writing systems. 
The Mirador Basin Project offers the student unique field experience in Lowland Maya archaeology.  Students will hike into the Basin from a small village, providing observations of the variations of the tropical flora, fauna, and archaeological sites in the Basin. The primary base will be the site of El Mirador, where students will be assigned to specific excavation, conservation, and investigation projects depending on skills and interests. Students will work closely with technicians and experienced scientific personnel.   Students will gain an understanding of excavation and research strategies, Maya ceramics, lithics, bone and shell collection, architectural consolidation and conservation, and chronometric methods. Students will gain an understanding of Maya art and architecture, archaeology, and tropical forest ecology.  A basic understanding of mapping using sophisticated technology in tropical forests, radar instrumentation, and remote sensing will be available.  Additional knowledge relevant to the excavation, stabilization, consolidation, and conservation of Preclassic Maya art and architecture will be obtained from experts working on site.
 You may attend a conference on Maya Settlement and then travel  to Flores where you will hike in with a team.

-Research: June 13- July 31, 2013
-Guatemala  Conference on Maya Settlements, June 14-16, 2013.

-Roundtrip Airfare: Student obligation from  residence to Flores/Santa Elena, Peten, Guatemala.  Bus tickets can be obtained in Guatemala City to Flores.

Students will be housed in personal tents at the field camp locations.  A list of mandatory equipment and personal belongings can be accessed at the ISU Anthropology website.  Meals will be provided. 

Important Links:


Department of Anthropology • College of Arts and Letters • Idaho State University
921 S. 8th Avenue, Stop 8005, Pocatello, ID  83209-8005
Tel: (208) 282-2629 • Fax: (208) 282-4944 • Email: