Field Schools

 

Archaeology Field School: Costa Rica 2017

 

January 15 - February 26, 2017

 

Las Mercedes was the center of a paramount chiefly polity in the Limon province of the central Caribbean region of Costa Rica (see map). This is one of the largest monumental sites in the country and the political center of an important chiefdom.

map

 

Las Mercedes Pottery

Radiocarbon dates suggest that the major phase of architectural construction at the site’s center began circa A.D. 1000 and that occupation continued through to the colonial period. Two paved causeways link the central monumental compound to outlying settlements 1.5 km away. Numerous stone sculptures (such as the 4.5 foot high example of a chief wearing a crocodile mask and holding a trophy head pictured below) have been recovered from the site. Furthermore,there are at least 5 secondary centers around Las Mercedes that were the seats of smaller secondary chiefs that likely paid tribute to the rulers of Las Mercedes.

3 statues

 

Las Mercedes was similar to other chiefly centers that were encountered along the Caribbean coast of Panama and Costa Rica by early Spanish explorers. Research goals of this project include documenting the processes required to establish political power and its maintenance in pre-state societies as well as the integration of ethnohistorical data to address these issues.

The site of Las Mercedes is located on the property of EARTH University, which provides undergraduate degree in agricultural management. The Las Mercedes Archaeological Project will be the 5th University at Albany field school run by Dr. Rosenswig (earlier projects were at San Estevan in Belize). This project contributes to the University’s priority of global outreach and also to the UAlbany Study Abroad office’s current focus on Costa Rica as a safe and affordable location for students to study. Dr. Rosenswig will run the Las Mercedes Project in collaboration with Dr. Ricardo Vazquez from the National Museum of Costa Rica. Dr. Vazquez received his Ph.D from Department of Anthropology at UAlbany in 2014. This will be the third time Drs. Rosenswig and Vazquez have collaborated at Las Mercedes.

During the past decade, over 170 undergraduate and 50 graduate students have participated on a total of eight UAlbany field schools. Students participate directly in archaeological discovery and the recovery of primary scientific data about prehistoric society. Undergraduate students learn basic scientific skills essential for the archaeological excavation and they practice a variety of methodological approaches appropriate to a full range of research objectives. These skills provide the credentials needed for employment with private archaeology companies once they return to the US. A field school is also the first step in professional training of students who pursue archaeology in an academic setting.

For the 2017 Las Mercedes project field school we offer 15 credits for participating students. Nine of these credits will be based on what we do in Costa Rica and then there will be two 8-week classes that students can register for. A 3-credit "Archaeological Laboratory Techniques" taught by Dr. Marilyn Masson will be offered through the Department of Anthropology and a second 3-credit "Geospatial Applications of Drones" will be offered by Dr. Alexander Buyantuev from the Department of Geography and Planning. For this latter class, Dr. Buyantuev will come to Costa Rica for a week with his drones, students will help collect LiDAR and multi-spectral data with him and the data will be analyzed as part of his class once students return to Albany.

las mercedes 2005
Las Mercedes Excavation 2005

TO SIGN UP

  1. Email Dr. Rosenswig at rrosenswig@albany.edu and let him know you are interested in the program.
  2. Then log on to the UAlbany Education Abroad website and fill out an application.
  3. And send a check payable to "University Auxiliary Services " for $200 as a deposit (non-refundable) to:

Dr. Robert M. Rosenswig,
Department of Anthropology
The University at Albany-SUNY
1400 Washington Ave, AS 237
Albany, NY 12222

4) YOUR POSITION IN THE FIELD SCHOOL WILL BE GUARANTEED UPON RECEIPT OF YOUR NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT OF $200 (CHECK PAYABLE TO UAS) AND FULL FIELD FEE OF $3100 PAID VIA E-PAY TO THE  THE UALBANY EDUCATION ABROAD OFFICE. THERE IS ROOM FOR ONLY 20 STUDENTS.

The Archaeological Field School in Costa Rica is sponsored by the Office of Education Abroad at the Center for International Education and Global Strategy, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Anthropology.

 

2016/06/13

Archaeology Field School: Schoharie, New York 2015

                                                                    May 26 - July 17, 2015

 

The field school will be conducted at the Pethick site, a prehistoric Native American site that dates to approximately between 1,500 B.C. and AD 1500. Previous excavations at this site have uncovered numerous stone and ceramic artifacts, as well as the remains of ancient fire hearths, storage pits and house outlines. Excavations at the Pethick site are a copperative endeavor between the Department of Anthropology and the New York State Museum.

For more information, click here.