Archaeological Field Methods and Conservation: Peru

Chavín de Huántar is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Central Andes of Peru. The site is a ceremonial center consisting of major temple mounds, plazas, and an intricate labyrinth of underground passageways of galleries and canals. Located in the north-central highlands of Peru, Chavín has long been recognized as the key site for understanding the beginnings of later Andean states and empires like the Inca. In particular, Chavín seems to have been a cult center where priestly leaders went to exceptional lengths - including using hallucinogenic drugs and manipulating light and sound within mystifying complex architecture - to convince elite Andean contemporaries of the validity of their supernatural authority.

The Stanford Archaeology Center plans to offer the Peru field experience in Summer 2024, either in person or remotely. Based on potential Stanford travel restrictions, the Archaeology Center will be determining whether our field experiences will be conducted remotely or in person by the early Spring quarter 2024. 

The dates of this field experience offering will be June 21 - August 3, 2024.

Undergraduate Field Experience

The student experience in Chavín de Huántar focuses on:

  • Archaeological excavation
  • Archaeological record-keeping
  • Photography and photogrammetry
  • Surveying and documentation
  • Cultural exchange and Spanish language

The Chavín de Huántar field experience has both pre-departure and post-return training requirements. Accepted field experience students will be in contact with Professor Rick and Archaeology Center staff to schedule the pre-departure training for the Spring quarter. 

The basic goal of the Chavín field experience is to give Stanford students field training in a broad range of archaeological research methodologies, taking advantage of the operation of Associate Professor Emeritus John Rick’s major archaeological project in the World Heritage site of Chavín de Huántar.  For seven weeks from July - August 2024, students will participate in major excavations, including those on the surface those of the original drainage canals, as well as in newly discovered underground spaces.  Researchers' efforts will be split between investigation, in which we are pursuing intellectual goals for understanding the past of the site, and conservation, in which we are trying to improve the perspectives for this monumental site’s survival into the future. 

Learn more about Chavín de Huántar, Peru

Familiarity with conversational Spanish is highly recommended for participation in this field experience.


Professor John Rick

Email: johnrick [at] (johnrick[at]stanford[dot]edu)


Learn more about general field experience opportunities with the Stanford Archaeology Center.

Applications for 2024 are open and will close on March 1, 2024. Read more about the opportunity and apply here!

This past summer, I spent seven weeks excavating at Chavín de Huántar, a pre-Inca site in the Peruvian Andes. My time there was transformative, as it afforded me a chance to work with archaeological materials and analytical methods. I spent six days a week excavating in a trench. It taught me to develop a degree of patience and physical resilience I didn't know was necessary. I have begun to better understand the functions of Chavín and their environmental and cultural origins in Peru.
Sophia Colello
Class of 2021