Dr. Julie Hoggarth explains her findings at an archaeological site. Photo courtesy of Dr. Julie Hoggarth.

By Braden Murray | Journalist

Each summer, Baylor’s Anthropology Department takes students field schools in foreign countries like Belize, Chile, Thailand, and Italy for a hands-on learning experience.

Dr. Julie Hoggarth, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and co-director of Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance since 2013, said historically only a few students have gone to Belize because they can’t earn credits there. .

“It’s a little harder for Baylor students to join,” Hoggarth said. “If they join, they should get credits from Northern Arizona University or get no credits at all.”

In the summer of 2022, Dallas junior Liz Blancher said she was the only student to participate in the archaeological reconnaissance of the Belize Valley. She also said she had previously attended field school, as she spent the summer of 2021 in Kerrville.

“It was a really good experience just to get to know people who are interested in archeology and to get more of that outside college experience,” Blancher said.

According to its website, the Archaeological reconnaissance of the Belize Valley focuses primarily on the excavation and study of ancient Mayan sites in the region. After a four-week session, his goal is to uncover an artifact deposit at the former Baking Pot plaza or even finish digging for an entire structure.

Hoggarth said students can go for two or four weeks, but four-week sessions are strongly encouraged to get the full experience.

“I call our two-week field school ‘a taste of archaeology,’ because the first week is orientation,” Hoggarth said. “And the second week, you just start to learn things, but then you leave. So if you’re there for two weeks, you don’t get the full view.

The archaeological research project of San Giuliano in Italy is another field school experience offered to students. According to its website, the San Giuliano The project seeks to provide insight into the economic transactions of middle-aged citizens.

Dr Colleen Zori, a lecturer at the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and co-director of the San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project, said her team is also studying how castle-building processes transformed Italian landscapes in the 10th and 11th centuries.

“It’s a different experience to go to another country and work there and live in a small town and see how society works,” Zori said. “That, I think, is very different from just going overseas and sitting in a classroom somewhere.”

Zori also said that after weekday work is over, students are allowed to travel on weekends, traveling to places like Rome and Umbria.

Since students cannot bring back any of the artifacts themselves, Zori said all documentation and research should be done at San Giuliano. Also, at the end of the trip, everyone is going to stay at a resort next to a volcanic lake.

“Students get a chance to really relax and sit by the pool or swim in the lake – doing their work but also having a chance to recover a little from the intensive work pace,” Zori said.

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