Belize Field School

UNCW Archaeology Field School in Belize

Summer I 2023

maya site

Dr. Scott Simmons

Ambergris Caye, Belize

When: May 21-June 19, 2023 (thirty days total including two travel days). A four-day break is included in which you can relax on the island or explore the mainland. 

Learn all about archaeology by excavating at the ancient Maya site of San Pedro and earn 6 academic credits (ANT 311)

What is a Field School?

            The archaeology field school in Belize is a 6-credit course – ANT 311 Field Methods in Archaeology.  The main objective of the course is to train students in all aspects of archaeological field methods, including surveying, excavation, recording, and preliminary laboratory work of processing and analysis of archaeological materials. 

Where is Ambergris Caye, Belize?

            Ambergris Caye is the largest and northernmost of all the offshore islands or cayes (pronounced ‘keys’) in Belize.  The small nation of Belize (formerly British Honduras) is located on the eastern or Caribbean side of the Yucatan Peninsula, approximately 360 miles south of Cancun, Mexico.  The island is home to San Pedro Town, the only town on the island (see as well as approximately two dozen ancient Maya archaeological sites, one of which UNCW students will be investigating!  Ambergris Caye has been voted the ‘Best Island in the World’ by Trip Advisor for several years in a row.

Where will I be Staying in San Pedro?

            The archaeological site we’ll be investigating is located on the grounds of Hostel la Vista, a newly renovated hostel situated in the heart of downtown San Pedro. We'll be staying at the Sandbar Hostel on the beach (see ). Students will share dorm-style rooms with other students, and to keep down on costs some students will sleep in bunk beds. 

What will the field school enable me to do?

1).  Use professional-standard excavation methods in the exposure and recovery of all cultural materials, including artifacts, soil and carbon samples, ecofacts, and human and non-human remains at the San Pedro site.

2).  Demonstrate how to properly record various kinds of field observations, including notes on soil morphology and the depositional characteristics of archaeological strata, features, burials, and structural remains as well as pertinent contextual information.

3).  Professionally process artifacts (clean, sort, count, and weigh by type) and record specific morphological and functional attributes of all classes of artifacts, including ceramics, bone, shell, lithics, metal, among others.

4). Enthusiastically and consistently engage with the general public by summarizing the archaeology students are conducting at the San Pedro site, including guests at the hostel as well as local Belizeans, government officials, and the news media.

What are the costs of the Field School?

            Cost is approximately $4,500. The cost includes: in-state tuition for 6 academic credits, round trip airfare, program fees (mainly lodging, in-country transportation, etc), and meals.

How do I Apply for the Field School?

            Go to:  and click on 'apply now'. The application looks like it might take a while to complete, but it’s not really too bad, and you can do it in stages. Just keep in mind the application deadline is January 29, 2023.  A $500 deposit is necessary to complete the application and reserve your spot in the 2023 archaeology field school in Belize.  Also, you will need to meet face to face with Dr. Scott Simmons before final acceptance in the 2023 archaeology field school.


Contact Dr. Simmons at: or 910.962.3429