Field Living Conditions

The 2019 archaeology field school will take place in the Puno region of the Andes Mountains, southern Peru. Information on camp living, weather, basic expectations, safety, and transportation is below.

All field school students will be provided a detailed field manual explaining the conditions, equipment recommendations, hazards, emergency procedures, resources, etc. Here we offer a brief overview of conditions to help you evaluate our program's fit for you.

Camp Living

Participants will sleep in hostels or on sleeping pads in rural houses near the field sites. Houses are not heated. All food is provided as part of the field school, and all meals are prepared by camp staff and field school participants as a community effort. Breakfast usually consists of oatmeal or other cereal, fruit, coffee, and juice. Lunch, which is packed before leaving the camp for the dig site, typically includes a sandwich, fruit, a sweet snack, and drinks. Given the limitations of foods in the remote region, dietary restriction may be difficult to accommodate, though efforts will be made to do so to the extent possible.
Students supply their own sleeping bags. Electricity is available but internet and cellular service will only be available on the weekends. Showers and modern restrooms will be available on weekends only.

Environment

Though it will be summer in the northern hemisphere, it will be winter in Peru. Moreover, the field sites are located at high elevation--over 12,600 ft (3800 m) above sea level. Expect daily high temperatures in the 60s and lows in the 20s. Precipitation is rare during the austral winter, but snow and hail are possible. Solar radiation is intense at this high elevation, so sun protection including wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves, and sunscreen are recommended. Note that houses and buildings are not heated. Layered clothing is recommended to accommodate variable conditions. The low-oxygen conditions can make respiration difficult, especially during the first several days and during bouts of physical exertion. This can result in headaches, dizziness, or nausea. To minimize the effects of hypoxia, students will spend two nights at mid-elevation (8,000 ft) in Arequipa to acclimatize.

Basic Expectations

Be prepared for hard, physical work and life without typical amenities and comforts. Students are expected to participate in all aspects of the field effort for the entire duration of the course. Work will proceed Monday through Saturday of each week with Sundays available for personal time.

Safety

Field research entails certain risks. Compliance with safety procedures is essential. The Department of Anthropology has prepared a field safety manual to offer information about hazards and first aid. All participants will be provided this manual and are expected to have read and be familiar with these guidelines. Beyond normal hazards in the study region include hypoxia, cold, farm dogs, and traveler's diarrhea. The US State Department does not recognize any particular threats to saftey in the Puno region at this time, and this is consistent with our long-term experience working in the region.

Transportation

The field school will provide all transportation, including round-trip air travel and transportation to and from field sites. Students interested in altering their travel itinerary must do so in consultation with Dr. Haas and at their own expense.