Non Kenyon Program Volunteers
Over 55 volunteers have taken part on the Naco, Cacaulapa, and El Paraíso Valley Archaeological Projects, the overarching research efforts in which the Kenyon-Honduras program operates. Backgrounds have varied from those with no archaeological field experience to others who have extensive familiarity with archaeological investigations, including CRM projects. The kind of experience you can expect on the program, and the level of support we can offer, depends in part on what you have done before and want to accomplish in Honduras.
If you are joining the project to learn about archaeology but have little or no prior field experience, then the opportunities available to you are analagous to those to which the undergraduates have access (see Research Projects). Your field training, like that of the students, begins with the direction of two trained local laborers in the excavation of a surface-visible construction. You will work close-by the undergraduates so that we can better support your initial efforts, answer questions, and offer advice. As your growing abilities warrant, and confidence allows, you will be charged with overseeing more excavators, eventually defining a project that you want to pursue. The last two months of the season are devoted to conducting this investigation, still under our overall supervision, but increasingly taking on responsibility for making important decisions and recording finds. At the end of the season, you will compose a short report outlining the nature and results of your fieldwork. This document, left with the Honduran government, will serve as a guide to whoever takes on the task of writing up formally your investigations (ideally, that should be you). In sum, you will: be exposed to all aspects of research in which members of the El Paraíso Archaeological Project are engaged; have the chance to put that knowledge into practice; and report on the results of your research. By following this schedule, you will get a sense of how the various facets of an archaeological field project fit together, from formulating a question, through conducting the fieldwork needed to address that query, to summarizing your findings in written form. You are not required to take the seminars offered on the Kenyon-Honduras program, but we encourage you to do so. These classes are designed to support student research and enhance the experience of living in Central America, and they will be of benefit to you on both counts. Since you are not paying tuition, however, Kenyon can not grant credit for any courses you may take, including the field research. Unfortunately, we can not offer volunteers with little archaeological background much financial support. We have to ask you to pay room and board (about $300 per month) as well as your own plane fare. You are welcome to join all fieldtrips on which we will be taking the students, but will have to cover your own expenses on each.
If you are coming to the project with considerable field training, intent on honing your techniques, and expanding your field experiences, the situation is somewhat different. Under these circumstances, you will be asked to take on considerable research responsibilities after a relatively brief training period (the length of time spent in preparation depends largely on how familiar you are with the nature of deposits found, and field conditions that pertain, in southern Mesoamerica). Because we devote so much time and attention to working with undergraduates on the program, you may well find yourself working more-or-less independently on survey or directing excavations after only about a month in the field. We do not push people into situations where they feel uncomfortable, and no one takes on more responsibility than they feel ready to shoulder. Nonetheless, we are racing against time in the lower Cacaulapa valley and need to get as much work done as can be accomplished responsibly before the inevitable advent of the bulldozer (see The El Paraíso Project and the Naco Project). Please bear in mind that research and teaching are carried out simultaneously and you will be living with about eight undergraduates along with a few other volunteers who do not have your experience or commitment to the field (at least not yet). Undergraduates on the project also average around 20 years old and have the interests of people that age. If you think that relating to such individuals, living and working with them on a daily basis, will be difficult, then think twice about applying. Should you decide to persevere, we may be able to offer you some support. It may amount to no more than covering your room and board and, possibly, paying a small stipend (about $25/weekly for 20 weeks). If you are looking for a topic suitable for a MA or PhD thesis, please contact us with your ideas (see The Directors for addresses). Seven MA and seven doctoral theses were completed, or are ongoing, based on original research carried out under these on the Naco & lower CacaulapaValley Projects. The same is true for 4 undergraduate and 2 Masters theses on the El Paraíso Project.
We ask that all interested persons fill out the Volunteer Application Form (which includes both a medical emergency authorization form and a release form), submit two letters of recommendation, and obtain confirmation from a doctor that participation on the project will not endanger your health. Volunteers will be chosen to fill positions within the two main categories of inexperienced and experienced based on criteria of interest, seriousness of purpose, and maturity (in all cases) as well as levels of proven ability (for those seeking supervisory positions).