Anthropology in Belize

Mysteries of the Ancient Maya Field Excursion
Anthropology 597T (Enrollment Optional)

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About the Course

WSU students have the opportunity to go on a trip of a lifetime and earn 3 credit hours in anthropology over spring break by enrolling in ANTH 597T: Mysteries of the Ancient Maya Field Excursion, a 9-day archaeological course in beautiful Belize. Between March 14 and 22, students will visit several spectacularly preserved ancient Maya cities, including Altun Ha, Caracol, Lamanai, and Xunantunich, where they will:

  • climb pyramids and wander through temples filled with hieroglyphic inscriptions
  • contemplate the collapse of the ancient Maya civilization while standing in abandoned ballcourts and plazas
  • learn how epigraphers decipher Maya hieroglyphs and how archaeologists excavate and reconstruct the ancient Maya past
  • explore the natural beauty and learn about the vast ecological resources of Mesoamerica through two days on the beach on the island of Caye Caulker (world-class snorkeling excursion optional!)
  • learn about ancient Maya trade and visit a modern Maya marketplace, where they can buy artisan crafts to take home as souvenirs.

A powerpoint explaining the trip is linked here:


General Schedule


March 14- fly to Belize, travel to San Ignacio, orientation, relax
March 15- visit Caracol, sleep in San Ignacio
March 16- visit Xunantunich, sleep in San Ignacio
March 17- travel to Caye Caulker and spend afternoon on the beach, sleep
in Caye Caulker
March 18- beach, snorkeling, etc., sleep in Caye Caulker
March 19- travel back to mainland, visit Altun Ha, sleep in Orange Walk
March 20- river tour, visit Lamanai, sleep in Orange Walk
March 21- souvenir shopping in Belize City, sleep in Belize City
March 22- fly out in morning



We will visit



  1. This once-in-a-lifetime trip costs $1000 in advance by October 31st (includes airfare, transportation within Belize, hotels, entry fees to archaeological sites and river tour, insurance, and overhead costs). The remainder of $900 is due January 30th.
  2. You should also budget $600 to cover food, water, the Belize exit tax, internet, and souvenirs. The optional snorkeling trip is an additional $30.
  3. Tuition for 3 credit hours (optional) is additional.




  • A valid passport!  Apply early.
  • Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and tetanus shot
  • Attendance at 2 three-hour meetings on campus is required prior to departure for Belize
  • Students registering for college credit must enroll through normal channels at WSU, paying tuition and fees to the registrar.
  • Pre-registration for the course is required. Prior approval to enroll in this 3-hour course is required for all enrolled participants. Contact the anthropology office if you have any questions.
  • There are no prerequisites.  The course may be taken for either graduate or undergraduate credit.  Participants must be at least 18 years old. Entry is limited to 16 total participants on a first-come basis.