Belize archaeology

Maya Research Program’s 24th Archaeological field season in Belize

What is the Maya Research Program?

The Maya Research Program (MRP) is a 501C3 non profit that supports archaeological and ethnographic research in Middle America. From May to August Each year since 1992 we have sponsored archaeological research in northwestern Belize and ethnographic research in the village of Yaxunah, Mexico. The Blue Creek Archaeological Project currently includes research at the sites of Blue Creek, Xnoha, Bedrock, Nojol Nah, Tulix Mul, Grey Fox, and Tamarindo (You can read many MRP publications here.) MRP has been instrumental in documenting and protecting numerous Maya sites in northwestern Belize. Over 3000 students and volunteers have participated in the project in the past 23 years. MRP’s research members include faculty members and graduate students from over a dozen universities worldwide. In addition, the Blue Creek field school has been certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists and is affiliated with the University of Texas at Tyler.

MRP’s goal is, first and foremost, to conduct research that helps us better understand the complex ancient societies of the Americas. MRP is proud to have a diverse staff of talented scientists contributing to this goal and our affiliated scholars are recognized as leaders in their fields. Recent support has come from the Archaeological Institute of America, National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation,  the Heinz Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies. In addition, the Blue Creek field school has been certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists and the project was recognized as the winner of the Archaeological Institute of America’s Excavation Outreach contest.

Another key MRP goal is to encourage the participation of students and volunteers — anyone who wants to experience the real world of archaeological or anthropological research and understand how we learn about other cultures may join us. We see this as a critical educational component of MRP’s work and it helps us accomplish our research goals as well. The ages of our participants range from 18 to over 80. So many of our participants return year after year that MRP has become an extended family. About half of our participants are university students under 30 years old and the other half are professionals and retirees. While the majority of participants this summer have come from the United States and Canada, we have numerous students and volunteers from Australian, European, Latin American, and Japanese institutions as well. For students, academic credit can usually be arranged. While many students go on to careers in other fields, numerous students go on to become successful graduate students in archaeology or a related field and return to focus on MRP projects for their theses and dissertations.

From May to August of each year, MRP hosts four two-week sessions for students and volunteers at Blue Creek. Everyone is a full participant in the effort and is involved with field excavations and laboratory work. You can read more about what to expect at the MRP’s field school in our Participant Guide.

Scholarships and fellowships are available.

If you are interested in joining the MRP team   – please get in touch soon as space is limited! If you have any questions – please don’t hesitate to contact us:

Maya Research Program

Website: http://www.mayaresearchprogram.org
1910 East Southeast Loop 323
#296; Tyler, Texas 75701
Phone: 817-831-9011
Email: mrpinquiries@gmail.com

2015 Day of Archaeology Update:

MRP is proud to support a vast range of talented researchers from across the globe under the project’s umbrella. The Blue Creek Archaeological Project’s research members include not only archaeologists, but also soil scientists, geoarchaeologists, geographers, conservationists, cultural anthropologists, bioarchaeologists, and botanists. Our 2015 excavations started on June 1st and end on August 2nd. This year’s excavations are located at the ancient Maya site of Xnoha and are focused on the elite residences west of Plaza A, two residential ancestor shrines, and the monumental architecture of the site core. In addition, we have excavated the rejollado feature at the site of Blue Creek and identified numerous canals and wetland resources in the area. Our expanded course offerings in 1) PXRF and Artifact Analysis 2) Bioarchaeology and 3) Photogrammetry and 3D Digital Modeling are also active.

Location of Blue Creek

Location of Blue Creek

Plan View of Xnoha

Plan View of Xnoha

Overview of Structure 103 bench prior to excavation (facing west)

Overview of Structure 103 bench prior to excavation (facing west)

Complete excavation of Structure 103 bench

Complete excavation of Structure 103 bench

Mapping the bench in Structure 103

Mapping the bench in Structure 103

Overview of Structure 103 bench - excavation complete  (facing west)

Overview of Structure 103 bench – excavation complete (facing west)

3D modeling of Structure 103 (Robert Warden - Center for Heritage Conservation - Texas A&M University)

3D modeling of Structure 103 (Robert Warden – Center for Heritage Conservation – Texas A&M University)

3D modeling of Structure 103 (Robert Warden - Center for Heritage Conservation - Texas A&M University)

3D modeling of Structure 103 (Robert Warden – Center for Heritage Conservation – Texas A&M University)

Excavation of Structure 100 (facing north)

Excavation of Structure 100 (facing north)

Excavation of Structure 100 (facing north)

Excavation of Structure 100 (facing north)

Excavation of Structure 100 (facing north)

Excavation of Structure 100 (facing north)

Excavation of Structure 77 (facing west)

Excavation of Structure 77 (facing west)

Mapping of Structure 77 (facing southwest)

Mapping of Structure 77 (facing southwest)

Crew Chief

Crew Chief

Adopt a Maya Site Update

The Maya Research Program is very pleased to announce that we have purchased 83.6 acres on the New River Lagoon. This land acquisition includes the ancient Maya site of Tamarindo. The site’s location on the New River Lagoon gave its inhabitants strategic access to important coastal trade routes. MRP is pleased to contribute to the conservation of this endangered archaeological and ecological resource. You can read more about this conservation effort is Popular Archaeology

In addition, the Maya Research Program has an opportunity to acquire an additional 35 acres of the ancient Maya site of Grey Fox. MRP was able to purchase 90 acres of this site in 2011 thanks to the generosity of our supporters and donors. As with MRP’s purchase of the site core of Grey Fox in 2011 – MRP very much needs the your help with this settlement zone acquisition.

Please help MRP purchase more of this important archaeological site and ecological resource and conserve it for the future.  Your tax-deductible donation of $100 will allow us to buy a quarter of an acre and a $400 donation will buy an entire acre. Of course any donation is more than welcome and 100% of the funds go directly to this initiative.

As a thank you present for donations exceeding $50 USD – MRP is offering a custom trowel. This custom heavy-duty Marshalltown 4 inch-pointing trowel (London style) is the perfect tool for excavating features! Your $50 (or more!) donation will help MRP conserve archaeological sites in Belize. (Please note we will mail these thank you gifts in August when we return from Belize). Please donate now to adopt this endangered Maya site and save it from destruction. 

Tour the Maya World Update

Please note that the full itinerary for our annual New Year’s tour in now avalible on our website. The Maya Research Program will offer a New Year’s tour from December 28th, 2015 to January 9th, 2016. You can join MRP for the adventure of a lifetime as we explore the Costa Maya and the Jewels of the Jungle. From Mexico’s stunning sites of Oxtankah, Dzibanche, Calakmul, and Becan to the jewels of Belize – Caracol, Xunantunich, and Cerros – we invite you to join us as we take a memorable journey through Mexico and Belize. Travel for a great cause and join us this winter! (You can download the full brochure here.)

Follow MRP’s Research Online

Remember if  you can’t join us in person this summer – you can follow our work via our webpageFacebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. You can also read numerous MRP publications for free via our webpage or explore our virtual museum. 

If you are interested in contributing to our adopt a Maya site initiative, or would like to travel for a great cause this New Year’s, or would like more information about our archaeological or ethnographic field programs, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

The Maya Research Program is a 501C3 non- profit organization and is affiliated with the University of Texas at Tyler.

Session 3 2015

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