Archaeological Field Season 2001


Lamanai Field Research Center


Indian Church, Belize, Central America

Phone 501-2-33578

Fax 501-2-12061


P.O. Box 63

Orange Walk Town

Belize, Central America


History and Background

The Lamanai Field Research Center (LFRC) is now offering undergraduate, graduate, and avocational students the opportunity to acquire skills in Maya archaeological resource management as well as the opportunity to learn about the culture and environmental history of Belize. In cooperation with the Department of Archaeology of the Government of Belize, Lamanai Outpost Lodge, and the staff of the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve, the LFRC will build on the excavations directed by David Pendergast, Curator Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum, from 1974 to 1986, during which time the site's occupation history was found to extend from about 1,500 B.C. through the Spanish conquest to the British colonial and modern period. Ongoing archaeological field research is directed by Elizabeth Graham (Institute of Archaeology, University College London and Department of Anthropology, York University, Toronto) who worked with David Pendergast at Lamanai from 1980 to 1986. Dr. Scott Simmons of the University of New Orleans will direct the field school.

Belize is a unique and peaceful Caribbean nation with a mix of people from 11 different ethnic backgrounds who number only about 240,000 people in an area the size of the state of Massachusetts in the US. English is the official language but many Belizeans also speak Spanish and/or the homegrown Creole.


Excavations 2001

Field course excavations will focus on the Late Postclassic and Spanish Colonial Period residential zone, located just north of the Spanish mission churches. Your participation in this research will enable us to better understand some of the dynamic changes that took place in Maya life at Lamanai in the centuries just before and following the Spanish conquest. Specifically, we will examine the nature of Maya economic organization during this period by investigating copper production technology. The area in which we will be excavating has produced copper artifacts, including many status or wealth objects, such as rings, bells, buttons, and tweezers. Excavations in this area have yielded mis-cast copper bells, sheet pieces of copper, and copper ingots - all the evidence we have thus far for on-site copper production. During the 2001 field school sessions we will identify and explore additional evidence of copper production, and examine closely the relationships between architectural remains and concentrations of copper and other Late Postclassic and Spanish Colonial Period artifacts.


Table of Contents

Staff and associates

Lamanai site history

Housing and on-site facilities

Field conditions

Course descriptions


Field periods for 2001

Costs and scheduling

Course credit

Weekly schedule

Supplies we highly recommend you bring with you

Supplies we suggest you bring with you

Recommended and required readings

Lamanai Field Research Center

Contact Information

Application Form

Medical Form



Staff and Associates


Dr. Elizabeth Graham, Lecturer, Institute of Archaeology, UCL; Associate Professor, Anthropology, York University, Toronto; Former Archaeological Commissioner of Belize.


Dr. Scott Simmons, Research Associate, College of Urban & Public Affairs, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of New Orleans

FIELD DIRECTOR: Laura Howard, MSc., Florida State University; Lamanai Field Research Center.

PROJECT AND CURRICULUM ADVISORS: David Pendergast, Curator Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum; Joseph Palacio, School of Continuing Studies (Belize) of the University of West Indies, Former Archaeological Commissioner of Belize, Vice President of the Belize Historical Society.

Emory King, President of the Belize Historical Society. John Morris, PhD Candidate University of California Los Angeles and Former Archaeological Commissioner of Belize. Graham Sampson, Instructor and Director of the Environmental Club at Corozal Junior College of Belize.

LFRC CHAIRS OF BOARD: Mark and Monique Howells, founders of LFRC; owners of LOL.

LFRC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR: Brenda Salgado, MSc. UC Davis, Animal Behavior; PhD student UC Davis, Education.

AFFILIATED INSTITUTIONS: Belize Department of Archaeology; University of the West Indies, School of Continuing Studies in Belize; Belize Historical Society; and Corozal Junior College.


Lamanai site history

Laman'ai (a corruption of "Lama'an/ayin," Maya for "submerged crocodile") is an ancient Maya center known to have been continuously occupied for almost three millennia. Founded by or before 1500 B.C., Lamanai survived the decline that afflicted most of the southern lowland sites in the 9th century AD, and came through the collapse with most of its political and religious structure intact and its population diminished little, if at all. Throughout the Postclassic period the community continued to flourish and remained active despite the decay and abandonment of most neighboring sites. The arrival of the Spaniards around A.D. 1540 found Lamanai's ancient ceremonial center long abandoned and the Maya settlement concentrated in the southern third of the site, with a small satellite community near the northern boundary. Erection of the first Spanish church at Lamanai followed the practice widely in use elsewhere in the Americas of superimposing the Christian building on an indigenous ceremonial structure. The process of Christianization, which

met with varying success, continued for the better part of a century, during which time a second, larger mission church was erected. Whatever Spanish hopes for Lamanai may have been, they began to disintegrate in the 17th century, and by A.D. 1638 had come entirely to pieces as the community joined a widespread Maya revolt. In A.D. 1641 Franciscan Fathers Fuensalida and Orbita found the church and other buildings burnt and abandoned. This uprising signaled the end of Spanish influence at Lamanai as it did throughout most of Belize. In the nineteenth century, Lamanai was occupied by British families involved in sugarcane production.

(Excavations at Lamanai from 1974 to 1986 were sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Royal Ontario Museum. Current and past work has been supported by Lamanai Field Research Center, Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies (FAMSI), Heinz Family Foundation, York University, Canadian Funds for Local Initiatives (CFLI), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)).


Housing and on-site facilities

Each field school participant will share a fully screened thatch-roof cabana at Lamanai Outpost Lodge with a maximum of two other students. The lodge, run by Monique and Mark Howells, also caters to tourists with particular interests in the flora, fauna, and archaeology of Belize. Amenities include a private bathroom with a shower, hot and cold running water, towels, sheets, soap, 24-hour electricity, ceiling fan, private verandah, and purified drinking water, as well as regularly scheduled room cleaning service. Laundry services (extra) or clothes-washing facilities (the lagoon--it's free!) are available. Other facilities include a dining area, common open-air porch, docks for swimming, an on-site laboratory, and a lecture room equipped with slide and overhead projectors, and a television/VCR. The LFRC also offers a range of outdoor activities such as canoeing, bird walks, and excursions to observe howler monkey troops. Many of these activities are included in the curriculum of the field school. Subject to availability, participants may undertake any other scheduled tour or activity with a possible fee. (Insect feeding is free, so bring repellent.)


Field conditions


The excavation site is the Maya urban center of Lamanai, which has been established by the Belize government as an archaeological reserve. Lamanai is located at the foot of the northern end of the 28 mile-long New River Lagoon on its western shore. Just north of the site, the waters of the lagoon narrow to form the head of the New River. About 80 miles by river farther north, the New River enters the Caribbean via Corozal Bay. The archaeological reserve is equipped with bathrooms and covered rest areas. The walk from Lamanai Outpost Lodge to the Central Precinct of the reserve takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and the dig site for the 2001 season lies between the Lodge and the Central Precinct. The village of Indian Church is a five-minute walk from the lodge where approximately 250 people live. There is a small community restaurant and a few small stores that sell sodas, soap, and other necessities.


The average daily temperature is approximately 85 degrees (F), and the humidity during the field season will be high. The rainy season starts in June; therefore the north hemisphere "summer" is not the best time to excavate. Nonetheless, rainfall is often restricted to a particular part of the day, leaving excavation time open. The setting of the Maya ruins, of Lamanai Outpost Lodge, and of the field research facilities along the lagoon is quite beautiful, and the bush abounds with birds and wildlife. Prospective students should be prepared for high heat and humidity as well as insects of all kinds and their bites. Individuals with allergies to bee or wasp stings, to mildew, mold, or anyone with a health problem exacerbated by tropical conditions ought not to enroll.


With regard to meals and/or dietary restrictions, the cooks are happy to accommodate within the limits of what is locally available. Vegetarians and vegans are most welcome; we ask only that you remain flexible and be prepared to adapt to what the local environment has to offer. Corn is the local grain. Wheat flour is imported but bread, rolls, and tortillas are baked daily at the lodge. Rice, beans, various vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, squash, plantains, cho-cho, carrots, potatoes, avocados, papaya, and watermelon are available seasonally. Beef, chicken, fish, pork, and shellfish are regularly served.


Course descriptions


Techniques, Public Archaeology, and the Environment

This specialized two-week session will introduce participants to the management of cultural resources, ancient Maya material culture, and community involvement through an intensive hands-on program. Students will be taught how to process, sort, and analyze a variety of artifacts including ceramic, lithic, and faunal remains. Participants will receive instruction in archaeological database management and will be introduced to cultural resource management strategies as they pertain to Maya archaeology. Public archaeology skills will be taught through direct interaction with both the local community and ecotourists in the area. Practical experience will be supplemented with a variety of lecture topics including: Introduction to Maya Archaeology; Introduction to Maya Material Culture; Laboratory Techniques in Maya Archaeology; Ecotourism and Archaeology; Public Education and Maya Archaeology; Ceramic Analysis; and Lithic Analysis. Participants will carry out no excavations.


MAYA ARCHAEOLOGY, CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT: An Introduction to Field Methods, Laboratory Techniques, and Analysis

Students will be instructed in the basics of archaeological field methods currently utilized in the Maya area. These include survey techniques, mapping, excavation, architectural interpretation, recording, laboratory procedures, laboratory analyses, computerization of excavation and artifact data, and data interpretation. The kinds of artifacts or ecofacts undergoing analyses and interpretation will vary throughout the field season, so that not all sessions will be identical. Fieldwork will include -- in addition to archaeology -- the identification of plants and local vegetation, and nature studies. Field and laboratory instruction will be supplemented by lectures on various aspects of Maya prehistory and archaeology. Some of the non-archaeological topics we hope to cover and activities we plan are: herbal and medicinal plant walk; Maya folklore; the history of Belize; update on LFRC research on the black howler monkeys and Morelet's crocodile; bird watching; night river spotlight tours.



The project accepts archaeological degree seeking students, avocational and other interested persons. No experience is required although preference is given to people with some background in archaeology. Individuals should be at least 18 years of age and be in good physical condition. The Lamanai Archaeological Project is a part of the Lamanai Field Research Center which encompasses community involvement and interaction with visiting tourists and students to the area. Participants should be prepared to interact and share their experiences with these individuals.



Field periods for 2001

Opportunities MAY exist for January, February, March and April 2001 contact L. Howard.


Session I -

MANAGING MAYA CULTURAL RESOURCES AT LAMANAI: An Introduction to Laboratory Techniques, Public Archaeology, and the Environment

Session I - 9 May to 23 May 2001 (2 weeks)


Session II and III-


Laboratory Techniques, and Analysis

Session II - 27 May to 24 June 2001 (4 weeks)

Session III - 16 July to 6 August 2001 (3 weeks)


Costs and scheduling: (All prices in U.S. dollars--airfare is not included.)

**Although we are not the least expensive field school offered in the area we offer an intense archaeological, cultural, and environmental experience in which students find themselves in a very comfortable setting where all domestic chores are attended to allowing their energy to be focused on learning.

Approximate US dollar program fees (contact L. Howard for exact costs):


Applications and deposits due 6 weeks prior to program start date.

Final payments due 4 weeks prior to program start date.



To summarize:

Session I:


9 May to 23 May 2001 (2 weeks)

$1,300 US

Session II:


27 May to 24 June 2001 (4 weeks)

$2,200 US


Session III:


16 July to 6 August 2001 (3 weeks)

$1,600 US

***Application information provided on the last page.

***All students will be responsible for covering the cost of airfare to and from Belize, optional trips, medical expenses, personal equipment, and any other incidentals.

Once you have been informed of your admission to the course, a nonrefundable deposit of $250 US is required. This should be paid in the form of:

- a personal check drawn on a US bank

- a money order in US dollars

Full payment in US dollars is due four weeks prior to the start of the course (see deadline dates above).

Deposit and full payment should be made out and sent to:

Lamanai Archaeological Project

c/o Ellen Howells

103 1st Street East, Suite 201

Tierra Verde, Florida 33715


In bottom left hand corner of check please include full name of student and date of session attending.


Course credit

Credit can be obtained in two ways (tuition cost NOT included in program fee):

1) Through York University in Toronto Canada. For York students, the course title and number of hours vary depending on each students situation. For those at York University who wish to enroll for credit, contact Betty Hagopian in the Department of Anthropology at

2) Through your HOME institution. For non-York students in Canada and the U.S., we are in the process of negotiating special low tuition rates through York. Please contact the Principal Investigator, Elizabeth Graham, at or Laura Howard at for details. Credit can also be arranged through home institutions via Directed Individual Studies (DIS) in cooperation with LAP directors and major professors. Students who choose this option will need to provide a letter stating that your home university will grant credit on the basis of an assessment and LAP transcript from the directors.


Weekly schedule

The course runs six days a week with one day off per week. A daily schedule of events will be sent once initial contact is made regarding the project. Optional field trips may be planned depending on number of interested individuals.


Supplies we highly recommend you bring:


Supplies we suggest you bring:


Recommended and required readings

We recognize that students enrolled in the 2001 field school will have different levels of training and formal education in the field of archaeology. Likewise, some students may not yet have taken courses on the ancient Maya or know of the various research questions archaeologists have been asking about precolumbian and historic period Maya life. As a result, we have compiled a reading list with this in mind. The list is divided into sections that cover specific areas of study as well as pertinent research topics that are related, either directly or indirectly, to information that will be presented to you during the course of the 2001 field school.


For introductory level readings in archaeology:

Ashmore, Wendy and Robert J. Sharer

  1.  Discovering Our Past: A Brief Introduction to Archaeology. Mayfield Publishing Company.
  2. A current summary introduction to the field of archaeology written by two Maya archaeologists.

Earle, Timothy K.

  1. "Complex Society," In The Dictionary of Anthropology, edited by Thomas Barfield, pp. 79-81. Blackwell Publishers.
  2. A detailed definition of the concept of complex societies and their defining features.

Webster, David L., Susan Evans and William Sanders

  1.  Out of the Past: An Introduction to Archaeology. Mayfield Publishing Company, London.
  2. An outstanding, comprehensive introduction to the field of archaeology witten by three Mesoamerican archaeologists (two Mayanists) using numerous examples taken from archaeological research at the large Maya site of Copan.

Willey, Gordon R.

  1. "Archaeology," In The Dictionary of Anthropology, edited by Thomas Barfield, pp. 23-27. Blackwell Publishers.
  2. A detailed definition of the field of archaeology written by a preeminent Maya archaeologist.



For readings on the Ancient Maya:

Ancient Maya Civilization. Norman Hammond. Rutgers University Press. 1982 A solid text on the subject, but a bit dated.

Maya Civilization. T. Patrick Culbert. Smithsonian Institution Press. 1993 An excellent, clearly written overview of ancient Maya civilization with superb color photographs.

The Ancient Maya, fifth edition. Robert Sharer. Stanford University Press. A very in-depth, detailed look at the ancient Maya with excellent illustrations.

The Maya. Michael Coe. Sixth edition. Thames and Hudson. 1999 A detailed look at ancient Maya life. Fully illustrated.

The New Archaeology and the Ancient Maya. Jeremy Sabloff. W.H. Freeman & Co. 1990. Comprehensive overview of ancient Maya life and current archaeological research strategies used to understand the Maya.

The World of the Ancient Maya, Second edition. John Henderson. Cornell University Press. 1994 An excellent, comprehensive text with great illustrations and figures.

We provide a list of selected publications on Lamanai and other sites. We also list other publications by Pendergast on the archaeology of Belize, as well as sources on the history of Belize. A number of books by local historian Emory King are available in the lodge gift shop.

Required Reading:

A required reading package will be available at a cost of $12 US. Included in the package are several articles on Lamanai and the Maya Postclassic in general.


For the history of Belize:

Bolland, Nigel.

1988. Colonialism and Resistance in Belize - Essays in Historical Sociology. Cubola Productions, Belize.

1986. Belize: A New Nation in Central America. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.

1977. The Formation of a Colonial Society: Belize, from Conquest to Crown Colony. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Jones, Grant D.

1989. Maya Resistance to Spanish Rule. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.


Readings related to the archaeology of Belize, but especially Lamanai:

Pendergast, David M.

1993. Worlds in Collision: The Maya/Spanish Encounter in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Belize. In The Meetings of Two Worlds: Europe and the Americas, 1492-1650, ed. by Warwick Bray, pp. 105-143. Proceedings of The British Academy No. 81. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

1993. The Center and the Edge: Archaeology in Belize, 1809-1992. Journal of World Prehistory 7:1-33.

1991. The Southern Maya Lowlands Contact Experience: The View from Lamanai, Belize. In Columbian Consequences Volume 3: The Spanish Borderlands in Pan-American Perspective, ed. by D.H. Thomas, pp. 336-354. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

1990. Excavations at Altun Ha, Belize, 1964-1970, Volume 3. Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.

1988. Lamanai Stela 9: The Archaeological Context. Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing 20. Center for Maya Research, Washington, D.C.

1986. Stability Through Change: Lamanai, Belize, from the Ninth to the Seventeenth Century. In Late Lowland Maya Civilization: Classic to Postclassic, ed. by J.A. Sabloff and E. W. Andrews V, pp. 223-249. U. of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

1985. Lamanai, Belize: An Updated View. In The Lowland Maya Postclassic, ed. by A. F. Chase and P.M. Rice, pp. 91-103. U. of Texas Press, Austin.

1985. Historic Lamanay: Royal Ontario Museum 1985 Excavations at Lamanai, Belize. Mexicon 7:9-13.

1985. "Lamanai 1984: Digging in the Dooryards" ROM Archaeology Newsletter, Series II, Number 6.

1984. Excavations at Lamanai, Belize. 1983. Mexicon 6:5-10.

1982. Excavations at Altun Ha, Belize, 1964-1970, Volume 2. R.O.M.

1981. The 1980 Excavations at Lamanai, Belize. Mexicon 2:96-99.

1981. Lamanai, Belize: Summary of Excavation Results, 1974-1980. Journal of Field Archaeology 8:29-53.

1981. Lamanai, Belize: 1981 Excavations. Mexicon 3:62-63.

1979. Excavations at Altun Ha, Belize, 1965-1970, Volume 1. R.O.M.

1974. Excavations at Actun Polbilche, Belize. ROM Archaeo. Monographs 1.

1970. A.H. Anderson's Excavations at Rio Frio Cave E, British Honduras. ROM Art and Archaeology Occasional Papers 20.

1970. Excavations at Eduardo Quiroz Cave, British Honduras. ROM Art and Archaeology Occasional Papers 21.

1969. The Prehistory of Actun Balam, British Honduras. ROM Art and Archaeology Occasional Papers 16.

Pendergast, David M., Grant D. Jones and E. Graham.

1993. Locating Spanish Colonial Towns in the Maya Lowlands: Belize as a Case Study. Latin American Antiquity 4:59-73.

Loten, H.S. and David M. Pendergast

1984. A Lexicon for Maya Architecture. Archaeology Monograph 8. Royal Ontario Musuem.

White, C.D., L.E. Wright and David M. Pendergast.

1993. Biological Disruption in the Early Colonial Period at Lamanai. In In the Wake of Contact: Biological Responses to Conquest, edited by Clark S. Larsen and George R. Milner, pp. 135-145. Wiley-Liss, New York.


Other readings on the Late Postclassic and Spanish Colonial period in Belize:

Graham, Elizabeth

1987. Terminal Classic to Historic-Period Vessel Forms from Belize. In Maya Ceramics: Papers from the 1985 Maya Ceramic Conference, ed. by P.M. Rice and R.J. Sharer. BAR International Series 345(i):73-98.

1991. Archaeological Insights into Colonial Period Maya Life at Tipu, Belize. In Columbian Consequences, Volume 3: The Spanish Borderlands in Pan-American Perspective, ed. by D.H. Thomas, pp. 319-335. Smithsonian Institution Press.

1998. Mission Archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology 27:25-62.

Graham, Elizabeth and Sharon Bennett.

1989. The 1986-1987 Excavations at Negroman-Tipu, Belize. Mexicon 11(6):114-117.

Graham, Elizabeth, Grant D. Jones and Robert R. Kautz.

1985. Archaeology and Ethnohistory on a Spanish Colonial Frontier: The Macal-Tipu Project in Western Belize. In The Lowland Maya Postclassic, edited by A.F. Chase and P.M. Rice, pp. 206-214. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Graham, Elizabeth, David M. Pendergast and Grant D. Jones

1989. On the Fringes of Conquest: Maya-Spanish Contact in Early Belize. Science 246:1254-1259.

Jones, Grant D.

1998 The Conquest of the Last Maya Kingdom. Stanford University Press, Stanford.

Willey, Gordon R.

1986. The Postclassic of the Maya Lowlands: A Prelimanary Overview. In Late Lowland Maya Civilization: Classic to Postclassic, edited by J. A. Sabloff and E. W. Andrews V, pp. 17-51. University of New Mexico Press. Albuquerque.



Readings on Ancient Mesoamerican Metallurgy

Hosler, Dorothy

  • 1994 The Sounds and Colors of Power: The Sacred Metallurgical Technology of Ancient Mexico. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Hosler, Dorothy and Andrew Macfarlane

  • 1996 Copper Sources, Metal Production and Metals Trade in Late Postclassic Mesoamerica. Science Volume 273:1819-1824.
  • West, Robert C.

  • 1994 Aboriginal Metallurgy and Metalworking in Spanish America: A Brief Overview. In Quest of Mineral Wealth: Aboriginal and Colonial Mining and Metallurgy in Spanish America, edited by Alan K. Craig and Robert C. West, pp. 5-20. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge.

  • Lamanai Field Research Center

    "Research, Education and Ecotourism Opportunities Make Conservation Possible"


    I. LFRC Structure and History


    The Lamanai Field Research Center (LFRC) has been in operation as a not-for-profit entity since 1992. It was formally established as a Belizean non-profit organization in 1998. Through its research related programs and by way of associated revenue, LFRC is supported by the Lamanai Outpost Lodge.

    The center was created through the vision of Mark and Monique Howells, owners of the Lamanai Outpost Lodge. Their goal was to create an educational facility for long-term, academic-based research projects in which students and professors from throughout the world can participate. These projects provide a wealth of valuable knowledge that can then be shared with Belizean students, foreign students and ecological tourists.

    Mark and Monique Howells are the current Directors of the LFRC. As managers of the Lamanai Outpost Lodge, they have contributed much time, energy and financial investment to bring the LFRC where it is today. With its continued growth, other LFRC Board of Director members will be added in the near future.

    Because of its prime setting on the New River Lagoon and its close proximity to the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve, the LFRC provides an ideal setting for archaeological, biological and environmental studies. Research, conservation and resource management are being carried out at the LFRC in the fields of Maya archaeology, as well as howler monkey, Morelet’s crocodile, bat and tarantula ecology.


    II. LFRC Mission Statement

    "To promote the sustainable utilization of Belize’s cultural and natural resources for the benefit of the Belizean people, through research in the Lamanai area, and through national education and ecotourism opportunities."


    A large part of our mission is therefore to facilitate research in the Lamanai area for the purpose of encouraging and supporting sustainable utilization of Belize’s cultural and natural resources. By ‘sustainable utilization’ we mean the broadening of researchers’ awareness to include the cognizance of the impact of research on local resources, both human and environmental. Association with the LFRC entails a commitment by researchers to safeguarding, expanding and enriching these resources by contributing to any one or all of the following: the training of local research and student assistants; local and/or national educational efforts; ecological tourism; and knowledge leading to better resource management.


    III. LFRC Purposes, Goals and Objectives

    The specific purposes of this organization are to:

    - provide a center that will promote and sustain an interest in Belizean conservation.

    - provide a base for researchers to study Belize’s cultural and natural resources.

    - provide a means by which that information can then be disseminated to the Belizean community at various levels.

    - provide a bridge between scientists and the general public in an informal learning environment.

    - offer programs that complement and supplement conservation and science education in schools.

    - offer opportunities that provide instruction in the scientific methodology of field studies.



    IV. Research History

    1993 - 1999: In 1993, The Howler Monkey Research Project was begun in conjunction with Dr. Hal Markowitz of San Francisco State University. Accurate ecological data is critical for national conservation efforts for this endangered species. Studies have focused on habitat requirements, population dynamics, infant behavior and development, vocal analysis, diet, parasite loads, reintroduction of captively reared animals, hormonal analysis, human impacts on howler populations, and DNA fingerprinting.

    1994 - present: Dr. Steve Reichling of Memphis State University and Curator of Reptiles at the Memphis Zoo, began his work here on tarantulas in 1994. Calling the Lamanai area a "hotbed of tarantula diversity", Steve has discovered three new species and one new genus (Crassicrus lamanai) in the vicinity of the lodge.

    1995 - present: In 1995 the Lamanai Archaeological Project began under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Graham, continuing excavations initiated at the site by Dr. David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum in 1974. With Laura Howard (Florida State University) acting as field director, the project continues to work closely with David Pendergast and Elizabeth Graham (University College of London). It also conducts several field schools during the summer and provides educational programs for guests.

    Archaeological interests at Lamanai include Maya settlement from 1500 B.C., the Spanish colonial period, British sugar mill operations in the 1850’s, focus on Maya architecture, archaeology of animal bones found at Maya sites (zooarchaeology), ancient diet and health of the Maya, ceramic chronology and microscopic analysis, the analysis and use of flint sculptures, iconography and Maya metallurgy.

    1996 - present: Dr. Steve Platt of the Wildlife Conservation Society began work at Lamanai on the endangered Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii). In 1997, Dr. Scott McMurry and Thomas Rainwater of Texas Tech University expanded on this early work by using Lamanai as their base and the New River lagoon populations as their focus of study. The goals of the Crocodile Project are to collect life history data for this endangered species, to develop baseline toxicology data for one of Belize’s most diverse and sensitive ecosystems, and to examine the effects of trace amounts of environmental contaminants. Through information gathered on nesting behavior, infant survival, radio tracking data, DNA assessment and diet, this project hopes to contribute to the development of conservation and chemical use guidelines in Belize.

    1998 - 2000: Between 1998 and 2000, Marcus England (Ohio State University) conducted the Lamanai Ornithology Project. The project focused on mist netting and banding birds to acquire census, diversity and dispersal information. Over 370 species have been documented in the Lamanai area, reflecting the species richness and diversity of bird habitats found here.

    1998: Dr. Scott Franklin and Amy Webbeking (Memphis State University) conducted a dual project of forest ecology and tropical agriculture, seeking clues to the relationship between local agricultural practices and forest recovery. The project focused on species diversity, recovery rates, productivity and longevity and how these measures are impacted by milpa agriculture.

    1999 - present: Dr. Brock Fenton of York University began bat research on the echolocation, roosting behavior, and diversity of bats in the Lamanai area. One of the world’s foremost authorities on bats, Brock Fenton has been studying bats throughout the world since 1963. He is the author of The Bat: Wings in the Night Sky.

    1999: Fiona Reid and Mark Engstrom have studied mammals throughout Central America. They conducted a Small Mammal Project here, using a "shake and bake" method with phosphorescent powder to study the movement and nesting behavior of small mammals in the Lamanai area. Fiona Reid is the author and illustrator of A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico.



    Contact Information:


    Lamanai Archaeological Project

    c/o Laura J. Howard

    P.O. Box 63, Orange Walk Town

    Belize, Central America

    Phone: 501-2-33578

    Fax: 501-2-12061

    E-mail: or



    1) Name____________________________________________________________

    2) Sex (for rooming purposes) M___ F ___

    3) Address__________________________________________________________

    4) Street, City, State or Province Zip or Postal Code, Country____________________


    5) Phone and/or Fax___________________________________________________

    6) E-mail___________________________________________________________

    If you are enrolled in a university program:

    7) Name of the university______________________________________________

    8) Your department, program, or major____________________________________

    9) Archaeology or other relevant courses taken______________________________



    10) Field school or any field or relevant travel experience______________________



    11) Name, e-mail addresses and/or phone numbers of professors or other individuals

    whom we can contact as reference to verify the information you have provided.



    12) Field session and an alternate date in which you are interested.________________


    13) Why do you wish to enroll in the field school?____________________________



    14) Please list any relevant skills you may have (i.e. illustration, photography, survey, or

    writing) and any other pertinent information about yourself.




    15) Special dietary needs (food allergies, vegetarian, etc.)



    Signature Date

    _____________________ _________________________

    Your application will be considered by the directors of the program and you will be notified as soon as possible regarding your status.





    Before you register we need information on your general health profile and any medical needs. Ask your family doctor to send us a letter attesting to your reasonable fitness to attend a field school under humid tropical conditions.

    Please fill in the following medical form AFTER ACCEPTANCE INTO THE PROGRAM. It is important for us to have this information on hand in case of an emergency. This information will be kept strictly confidential.

    Name___________________________ Home Phone____________________________


    Date of Birth (Mo/D/Yr)_____________ Male__Female__

    In case of emergency, please contact:

    Name:__________________________ Relationship:____________________________

    Address: _____________________________________________________________


    Family Physician:_________________________ Phone:_________________________

    Mailing Address:________________________________________________________

    Any allergies or existing medical conditions:____________________________________



    Any medications you take:__________________________________________________


    Signature Date

    _______________________ _________________________




    1. A passport that is valid through your return date (this is all you need to enter Belize).
    2. A round trip airplane ticket. American, Continental, and TACA are the only three airlines that fly into Belize from San Francisco, Houston, Miami and New Orleans. You may contact Ellen Howells in the LOL US office at for quotes on fares, be sure to tell her you are an LAP student.
    3. That LAP has your application and medical form, deposit and final payment, and specific arrival and departure times.
    4. To schedule a visit with your family doctor or university health center and be advised by them as to what health precautions are to be taken for traveling in Belize.
    5. Make sure you have a current tetanus shot since you will be excavating.
    6. Sign up in advance as the sessions fill early.