Guatemala Archaeology Program

The program provides students with an unparalleled experience in Maya archaeology, history, and culture through intensive language study in the beautiful colonial town of Antigua, and through archaeological field work at San Bartolo in northern Guatemala, one of the premier archaeological sites in the Maya world. This program is offered spring semester of even-numbered years.

Program Curriculum

The First Four Weeks

During the first four weeks of the program, students will study intensive Spanish in Antigua, Guatemala’s colonial capital. During this time students will live in local households.  Excursions from Antigua include visits to highland villages and archaeological sites.

The Final 12 Weeks

For the remaining 12 weeks of the semester, students will live, study, and work at the San Bartolo field camp and participate alongside the world’s foremost authorities in the ongoing investigation of this stunning Preclassic discovery.

Students enroll in the following four courses.

CAS SP 400 Intensive Spanish Language and Culture (2 credits)

CAS AR 503 Archaeological Field Methods: Survey and Excavation (4)
An interdisciplinary course dealing with field and laboratory techniques, research methods, concepts and problems in archaeological theory, and formulation of research designs. Syllabus

CAS AR 551 Studies in Mesoamerican Archaeology (4)
Analysis of major events and processes of the Mesoamerican area. Topics include rise of towns, temples, and urbanism; the origin of state; and the development of empires. Syllabus

CAS AR 556 Archaeological Field Research (8)
Supervised original research in excavation, survey, or field laboratory situation, as part of field study program. Syllabus

Note: Syllabi are for course approval and reference only. Elective course offerings vary and may not be offered every semester. Students will receive up-to-date syllabi when their courses begin.

Program Details

  • Undergraduate or graduate status
  • Previous coursework or fieldwork in anthropology or archaeology desired, but not required
  • Must be able to engage in fieldwork in hot temperatures for significant periods of time
  • Preference is given to upper classmen
  • Admissions requirements for all programs
Dates & Deadlines
  • Spring Semester: mid January to early May (even numbered years only)

Please note that this program is only offered during the spring semester.

  • Upon successful completion of the program, students earn eighteen Boston University credits. Students must enroll for a total of eighteen credits.
  • During the first four weeks of the program, participants live with local host families in Antigua.
  • At San Bartolo, program participants live at the project headquarters and sleep in tents in a camp of approximately 120 people. Students and staff eat communally; breakfast, lunch, and dinner are prepared by cooks. Wireless Internet is available.
Application Deadline
  • Spring Semester: October 1

Notification of admissions begins after the application deadline.


Download a description of the Guatemala Archaeology Program.

Program Faculty & Staff

The Boston University Guatemala program is administered by staff at Boston University. A program manager oversees the admissions and pre-departure procedures, and maintains contact with students prior to their arrival in Guatemala. The Boston office also houses administrative personnel who are responsible for everyday operations.