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A Step-by-Step Guide to Archaeology Fieldwork

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Archaeology Dig in Progress: Toucan House
2011 Field Crew at Blue Creek

2011 Field Crew at Blue Creek

Maya Research Program

This photo essay describes the progress of an archaeology dig at an elite Maya residence in Belize called Structure 4C10 or Toucan House, which ran in May and June 2011 under the direction of the Maya Research Program.

In the world today there are only about 25,000 employed and working archaeologists. That's a pretty small number, when you consider there are about seven billion of us human beings on the planet. Opportunities do exist for students and adult volunteers to join one of the many excavations that take place every year: but the opportunities are sometimes hard to fit around people's schedules or budgets. The experience of an archaeological expedition, then, is truly a rare one.

The images for this essay describing how an archaeology dig progresses were provided by Colleen Hanratty, senior staff member of the Maya Research Program in Belize. Directed by Dr. Tom Gudjeran, the 2011 excavations examined (among many other sites) Toucan House, the archaeological remains of a house occupied between 200-800 AD by high-ranking residents of Nojol Nah (or Northern Group). This essay describes the progress of the dig, and, with Colleen's help, explains what the researchers learned.

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