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Archaeology Trip to Belize
Students receive instructions before starting fieldwork

Archaeology Trip to Belize Fascinates Students

Archaeology Trip to Belize

A Group of Community College of Philadelphia students and faculty spent up to four weeks in the Central American country of Belize last summer learning archaeology basics at the Rio Bravo Field School. The 10 Philadelphia students who participated in the program, along with undergraduate students from other twoyear and four-year colleges, won high praise for the dedication and maturity they showed during the trip.

Archaeology Trip to Belize
Students take time off to visit local ruins

Stanley Walling, assistant professor of Social Science and director of the Rio Bravo school, called the trip and "unqualified success.” He and his staff were impressed by the way the College’s students performed under trying circumstances. They endured heavy tropical rains, snakes, swarming mosquitoes and other insects, sweltering temperatures without air conditioning, outdoor latrines and intermittent power interruptions.

Despite the "tropical heat, chiggers, rain and mud, and while traipsing through rugged terrain carrying heavy equipment, rocks and soil," the students interacted with their teacher and one another with good humor, observed Margaret Stephens, an associate professor of Earth Science and Geography and faculty observer on the 2007 trip.

Walling said their fortitude shows that students from Community College of Philadelphia “can make effective use of international learning experiences as steppingstones to further achievement.”

All of the students participated in a daylong orientation in Philadelphia with field school staff before receiving further instruction at the site. Beyond excavating, sifting soil for artifacts, recording structures with tape and compass and using an infrared laser mapping station to establish mapping points and record topography, the students and staff spent much time maintaining written records of their activities.

The Rio Bravo Field School i s part of the Programme for Belize Archaeology Project, which is investigating sections of the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. The 260,000-acre subtropical forest is a privately administered reserve for the protection and preservation of Belize’s natural plant and animal resources.

The school operates under the research umbrella of the University of Texas. More than 150 students from diverse learning institutions have participated in the cutting-edge program.

On their day off, students visited restored archaeological sites, local restaurants and stores and made trips to local swimming areas.

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