Skip to content
Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
Costa Rica: Faculty Led: Archaeological Field School
Guacimo de Limon, Costa Rica (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Spring
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
SUNY code: 800
Program Description:

Program Information | Requirements | Academics | Support Services | Housing | Cost Estimates | Resources

Program Information

The Las Mercedes Archaeological Project field school carries on a UAlbany tradition of providing undergraduate and graduate training in archaeological field methods. The site of Las Mercedes is located on the piedmont of Costa Rica's Atlantic watershed and was occupied from A.D. 1000 to 1500. It was the center of a large chiefdom the likes of which early Spanish explorers reported from the coast of Panama. Research goals of this project include documenting the processes required to establish political power and its maintenance in pre-state societies as well as the integration of ethnohistorical data to address these issues.

This project contributes to the University's priority of global outreach and also to UAlbany Study Abroad's current focus on Costa Rica as a safe and affordable location for students to study. Dr. Rosenswig will lead the Las Mercedes Project in collaboration with Dr. Ricardo Vazquez from the National Museum of Costa Rica. Dr. Vazquez earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at UAlbany in 2014.

During the past decade, over 170 undergraduate and 50 graduate students have participated on UAlbany field schools. Students participate directly in archaeological discovery and the recovery of primary scientific data about prehistoric society. Undergraduate students learn basic scientific skills essential for the archaeological excavation and they practice a variety of methodological approaches appropriate to a full range of research objectives. These skills provide the credentials needed for employment with private archaeology companies once they return to the US. A field school is also the first step in professional training of students who pursue archaeology in an academic setting.

Visit the Archaeological Field School website at



Students are eligible to participate after one succesful semester of college level study. Permission of Dr. Rosenswig is required.
NOTE: Admissions decisions will be made on a rolling basis. Apply early as spaces are expected to fill quickly.



This archaeological field school experience yields a total of 9 credits.  Dr. Robert Rosenswig will teach the two field school courses: AANT 335 (3 credits) and AANT 338 (6 credits). The latter is an intensive field course of practical instruction and hands-on learning that comprises the 8 hours per day (5.5 days per week) of field work. The former consist of evening lectures, lab training and weekend field trips to archaeological sites in the region.

AANT 335: Field Methods in Archaeology (3 credits)
This course introduces undergraduates to field and laboratory techniques in archaeology through lectures, practical demonstrations and exercises in the field, and readings. It will be taught in tandem with AANT 338 under the auspices of the Las Mercedes Archaeological Project in Costa Rica, Central America. Students will acquire skills in setting up excavation units, recording elevations, selecting excavation strategies and areas to test, filling out field records, making field observations, drawing plan, profile, and site maps as well as laboratory processing of artifacts. These skills will be practiced daily in the field. Students will be required to pass a practical exam demonstrating competence in a full range of field skills and a written exam on field methods.

AANT 338: Archaeological Field Research (6 credits)
Students will join the research team of the Las Mercedes Archaeological Project as assistant staff members in the exploration of the monumental core of the Las Mercedes site. This field research course will stress links between data collection and interpretation. The research objective of this project will be contextualized within the context of lower Central American archaeology. Lectures will cover a range of topics on archaeological research, and field trips will be taken to nearby sites. This course will be taught in tandem with Aant 335.

Various 8 week quarter classes are offered at UAlbany each year and students are encouraged to explore their options for the March-May session:

Other 8 week second quarter (March-May) options at UAlbany include:

  • Students may be able to register for independent study credit with Dr. Rosenswig if they arrange this prior to leaving for Costa Rica.
  • It is expected that Dr. Masson will offer a second quarter course on archaeological materials analysis through the UAlbany Anthropology Department. 
  • In addition, the Department of Geography and Planning will offer a course in remote sensing (AGOG 406) as a quarter class that students can enroll in and begin once they return to UAlbany. Please contact Dr. Buyantuev for more information at

AGOG 406: Topics in GIS: Geospatial Applications of Drones (3 credits)
Instructor:  Alexander Buyantuev, Department of Geography and Planning, AS 226

Course Description:
In this 8-week long class you will be introduced to the drone technology and operations made
possible by it. We will learn about the history, anatomy, applications, and the future of UAS.
Everyone will participate in the class mapping project. We will walk through the entire process of
running an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), a.k.a. drone, which includes selection of the platform and
payload for aerial mapping, complying with current and anticipated rules for UAS operation,
conducting an aerial survey and post-processing the acquired imagery. The topics we will focus on
include but are not limited to: sensors and platforms; civilian applications, such as precision agriculture, land cover mapping, emergency response,  etc.; operational requirements of the UAS; flight planning; data processing; derived data products such as orthoimagery and digital elevation models; concerns surrounding UAS safety, security and privacy issues.

Click here for: Descriptions of Courses for Spring 2017.pdf


Support Services

Student participants are accompanied by Dr. Robert Rosenswig of UAlbany's Department of Anthropology and also have the full support of the EARTH University staff.

Click here for more information about the EARTH University's student services: 



Students and staff will live in the modern, clean campus residences of the Earth University.

Click here for General Information About Housing at EARTH University  



Please download the most recent estimate of costs here: Archaeological Field School Spring 2017.pdf

 Airfare is not included; students are responsible for the cost of round-trip airfare to Costa Rica.

1) Fill out the field school application form located at (see the application form link on the left side of the page) and email it to

2) Click on 'Apply Now' on this website and fill out an on-line study abroad application. NOTE:You must complete both the field school project application and the study abroad application.

3) Click HERE to pay your $200 non-refundable deposit online via credit card. Contact UAlbany at for your "promotional code" to receive the discounted deposit rate of $200 (instead of the standard $400 education abroad deposit). 


Click here for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid



Visit the Archaeological Field School website at


Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2017 11/30/2016
Rolling Admission 01/15/2017 02/26/2017
NOTE: Students will be picked up at the San Jose airport on January 15, 2017 and students will be dropped back off to the San Jose airport for departure on February 26, 2017. Insurance dates: 1/10/17-3/10/17

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed
This program is currently not accepting applications.