Field Program in Cayambe, Ecuador
We are glad that you will be joining us on
the Pambamarca Archaeology Project this summer in Ecuador. We have prepared this guide to answer your
questions about living and working in Ecuador. If you find you have questions after reading
through this material please feel free to join one of our online communities to ask questions or
contact a director by email:
Samuel Connell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ana Lucía González: email@example.com
It is important to stress that all of us,
as members of this project, are guests of the government of Ecuador, which is currently pursuing a
long-term program to promote eco- and cultural-tourism in Ecuador. As you will surmise from photos of the
landscape in Pambamarca, ecologically the study area
is ideal for this sort of program. But
it is also one of Ecuador’s richest cultural
landscapes, whether you are interested in prehistoric, historic or contemporary
cultures. As such, the Ecuadorian
government is actively supporting our archaeological project as a way to open
up this region for conservation and future tourism. If you want to read more about the academic
side of the project read through our informal
website with miscellaneous documents about the project’s work.
Pambamarca Archaeological Project consists of an
international team of researchers investigating ancient, historic and living
landscapes in Pambamarca, Ecuador. The project area of Pambamarca
is located at an elevation of nearly 12,000 feet in the Andean sierra, where
snowcapped peaks dominate the horizon.
As past participants can attest, working on the project is exhilarating
as multiple teams perform a variety of tasks everyday like settlement survey,
site mapping, remote sensing, excavations and laboratory work. This year the project will continue to study
the massive Pre-Columbian fortresses that were built on the peaks of the Pambamarca mountains by Inka and Ecuadorian societies.
Pambamarca fortresses pose a number of interesting
research problems concerning their origins and use. The late kings of the Inka
Empire were enchanted with Ecuador,
and moved their armies as far north as Quito with relative ease. Naturally, as they looked further north
the Inka armies expected little resistance from the
indigenous societies located in and around what is now known as Pambamarca. As they
moved out from Quito,
however, the Inkas encountered fiercely resistant
societies that were prepared to fight at great lengths for their
independence. In fact, during the next
17 years these Ecuadorians managed to turn back the Inka
until finally their fortresses fell in the early 1500s. The historical documents describe a
subsequent period of Inka rule in which the Inkas constructed and occupied a set of fortifications in
the provinces north of Quito
are rife with the remains of prehispanic fortresses,
with the greatest concentration lying in the mountain range of Pambamarca. Empirically, this project seeks archaeological
and historical data relating to the construction and occupation of the Pambamarca fortresses, as these data will effectively
evaluate a number of hypotheses about the imperial and colonial realities of
the Inka period in Ecuador. Topically, the project is interested in the
nature of resistance and domination along the northern frontier of the Inka Empire, as such knowledge
will contribute greatly to our understanding of imperial and colonial processes
in the ancient world.
efforts of the Pambamarca Archaeological Project are
valuable on other levels as well. First,
in cooperation with professors and archaeologists from the host country, the
project provides Ecuadorian university students with the opportunity to learn
and train with foreign archaeologists.
Second, the results of this research will be included in the pending
application of the Instituto Nacional
de Patrimonio Cultural del Ecuador to move the Pambamarca Pre-Columbian Fortress Complex from the
Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to the Permanent List. Currently, Ecuador has four Permanent World Heritage Sites: The Islas Galápagos, the Parque
Nacional Sangay, Ciudad de Quito, and the Centro histórico de Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca. Pambamarca
would be the first entry from Ecuador to highlight in
particular the country’s important PreColumbian
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and
depart Ecuador. Tourists must also provide evidence of return
or onward travel. Please indicate
tourism as your reason for travel on your visa or other forms. U.S.
citizens are given a 30-day or more visa when they
arrive at Quito, Ecuador-- therefore, you do
not need to apply for a visa before you travel.
Those planning a longer visit should speak with the immigration officials
when they arrive. If your visa expires
in the middle of your trip you will need to find the right government to be
re-issued a new visa. Participants who
hold non-US passports should determine if a visa is required to enter the
country. You should always travel with a
color photocopy of your passport in case of theft or loss. You can confirm most of this information at
the U.S. State Department Web Site at http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html.
Participants should plan to
fly into Quito's
Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre.
Ticket prices to Ecuador fluctuate greatly depending
on the day of the week you travel, the time of year, and the carrier. A U.S. carrier is usually
more expensive. In the past project
participants have used Avianca, Lacsa,
Continental, and American Airlines. We
will remind you to confirm your return reservation as soon as you arrive in Quito. An exit tax of $25 cash must be paid at the
airport when departing Ecuador. For fieldschool
students and program volunteers airport pick-up’s and Quito hotel accommodations for the first night in Ecuador
will be arranged by project staff. If
you're joining us independently as a project visitor we will try to send
someone to meet you at the airport and bring you to a trusted hotel in Quito.
The project will organize site
visits over the course of the program.
Thankfully, the Northern Highlands of Ecuador are incredibly rich
in history, culture and beauty, meaning these outings can be conducted as
daytrips. One trip will be to Quito to
tour the city’s major Colonial monuments; another will be to the famous Otavalo Market, where students can witness (and participate
in) one of the oldest markets in the Andes; another will be to the
archaeological site of Cochasquí
to study the well-preserved monumental platforms that were the hallmark of pre-Inka populations in the region; and another will be to the
edge of the Amazon along the eastern foothills of the Andes.
Before or after participating
in the program students are encouraged to travel to more distant parts of Ecuador. South of Quito lies
the city of Cuenca,
which has managed to preserve most of its colonial neighborhoods. If students are willing to travel to the Pacific Coast they will not be
disappointed as it is interspersed with beautiful but rugged tropical
beaches. Students can also fly or cruise
to the famous Galapagos Islands. Perú is not far
away, although if students are considering visiting Machu Picchu they should set aside a
week or more.
are urged to purchase an up-to-date edition of an Ecuador
travel guide (Lonely Planet is excellent),
which will have all the details about travel to and within Ecaudor.
Life in Ecuador
be residing in Pambamarca in the small town of Cangahua, which is located in the County of Cayambe on the northeastern limits of the Province of
Pichincha (all about one hour north-north-east of Quito). The capital city of this county is also named
Cayambe, which you will find on any map of Ecuador
(Cangahua, however, doesn't always appear). Cangahua sits in the
hills south of the city of Cayambe and it
takes about 20 minutes to travel between them by bus. As you will discover, Cangahua itself is wonderful place to live-- small, open
participants will stay in a dormitory-styled house located behind the main church in the town of Cangahua. This ‘Casa Comunal’
is a large, two-story building with electricity, running water, showers, a
kitchen, a mess hall and plenty of beds.
When the project is up and running meals will be prepared for the
project by two cooks that are hired from year to year.
Other students will stay in the colonial-period Hacienda Guachalá located down the road
is a wonderful hotel located on the grounds of a colonial ranch
established in the 1500s. The rooms are
clean and comfortable and each includes a private bathroom and fireplace that
is re-stocked with wood on a daily basis.
You can learn about the Hacienda online at http://www.ecuadorexplorer.com/guachala/.
If the idea of the dormitory-styled living
in Cangahua is uncomfortable, students can elect (for
extra cost) to stay in the Hacienda Guachalá.
and Financial Services
uses the U.S. Dollar, so there is no need to worry about changing money. There are also many ATM machines in Quito, Cayambe and other cities (the bank will charge a fee for
each transaction). Most places accept major
credit cards. Please make copies of
traveler’s check receipts, your passport, and the front and back of your ATM
and credit cards, leaving them at home with someone you can call in the case of
an emergency. Take the original
traveler’s check receipts with you as well as photocopies of the cards and
passport, keeping them in a separate bag from your traveler’s checks.
important to stress that all of us, as members of this project, are guests of
the government of Ecuador,
which is currently pursuing a long-term program to promote eco- and
cultural-tourism in Ecuador. As you will surmise from pictures of the Pambamarca landscape, ecologically the study area is ideal
for this sort of program. But it is also
one of Ecuador’s
richest cultural landscapes, whether you are interested in prehistoric,
historic or contemporary cultures. As
such, the Ecuadorian government is actively supporting this archaeological
project as a way to open up this region for conservation and future tourism. What this all means is that project
participants should recognize and appreciate that the support and participation
of the communities of Pambamarca are a crucial part
of the success of our endeavors.
against Ecuadorian law to remove artifacts from archaeological monuments or to
damage them in any way. Always be
sensitive when taking photographs.
Remember, not everyone shares our view of the visual spectrum as being
part of the public domain. Be discrete
when photographing a scene and ask permission when taking a photograph of
individuals, particularly an older person.
We highly recommend that you also keep a personal field journal so you
will be able to remember all the experiences you have had. Your diary and photographs make the best
on Alcohol and Drugs
project will not serve alcohol to students at anytime. Do not bring any drugs with you
or attempt to obtain them in Ecuador. Tobacco smokers are welcome on the project,
but the project house has been established as a smoke-free place, and we expect
complete compliance with this policy.
You are not permitted to smoke on the archaeological sites or in the
of Project Rules
safety of students and project participants may be jeopardized by violations of
the project’s accepted operating procedures, which will be posted and explained
in detail when students arrive in Pambamarca. The directors reserve the right to expel any
student from the program for violating any of the rules. In such a case the student will be put on a
plane home and lose credit for the entire program. The directors’ decisions are final, and in
accepting a place in the program the student accepts the directors’
DAILY SCHEDULE AND WORKING CONDITIONS
Fieldwork will begin at 7:00am
each day and end at 3:00pm. Before
setting out for the field, students will divide into teams devoted to carrying
out various archaeological tasks. A
rotating weekly schedule guarantees that students will be able to participate
in all of the different activities.
Students should be in decent physical shape when they come to Ecuador
as some of the work can be rigorous. As
you will see (and feel) the altitude plays a major role in life in Pambamarca, and everyone typically needs a day or two to
acclimatize. We understand this will be
a new experience for some of you or that you may have certain physical
strengths and weaknesses, so we will be accommodating in regard to your needs
of an archaeological project is to observe and gather large amounts of
information in a relatively short period of time. As such, fieldwork can be an intensive and
unpredictable experience. While some
participants will have had previous fieldwork experience, others will have not, meaning the chance to work in close quarters with a
group of individuals with diverse backgrounds will be a new experience. Every effort will be made to plan the
fieldwork well in advance; however project participants should be prepared for
schedule changes that can occur from time to time. Flexibility and patience, therefore, are
important traits to bring to the field.
The primary thing to
understand about the climate is that conditions can be unpredictable due to the
high elevations of the Andes (we live
and work at elevations ranging from 8,000-12,000 feet). All archaeological activities will be
organized with this in mind. In the
summer it rarely rains in the area, but we cannot rule out light showers or wet
winds (paramo!) coming off the eastern
mountains. These winds are consistently
strong and chilly. We compare it overall
to the late fall or early winter in New England,
except with nearly constant sun. While a
winter coat is useful, many of us use lots of layers under durable windbreakers
or raincoats, which keep you well protected in the rugged environment. Temperatures can be very cold at night and
parts of the project house can be drafty.
Bring a warm winter sleeping back, and hats and mittens are also
useful. Again, the ultimate key to your
comfort is wearing layers, because as the sun rises it can get warmer.
Vaccinations/Immunizations. There are no required immunizations for Ecuador. However, a current tetanus booster, childhood
inoculation boosters (such as polio), and a Hepatitis A vaccination are
recommended. More information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at (877) 394-8747,
or via their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/.
Current Health Precautions. For the most current information available
regarding health precautions for travel to Ecuador
please contact an immunization clinic well before you leave for Ecuador. As with any health-related recommendation, it
is also a good idea to check with your personal physician regarding shots
Medical Insurance. All student participants must have
demonstrated health insurance. Remember
that not all U.S.
medical insurance is valid outside the United
States, for example U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Check with your own insurance company to confirm that your policy
applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the
overseas hospital or doctor, or whether you will be reimbursed later for
expenses you incur. Useful information
on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is
provided in the Department of State’s ‘Medical Information for Americans
Traveling Abroad’, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
If you do not have travel coverage, please investigate the various
travel insurance packages that are available.
Personal Medication. Bring all personal medication, aspirin,
Band-Aids, first aid cream, Maalox, Kaopectate,
Kleenex, tampons, sunblock, etc. If
necessary, you can buy over the counter medications in the area. If you wear glasses be
sure to bring an extra pair. You will
find that the high altitude of the Andes
affects everyone different, so there is no way to know how you will feel until
you arrive. Most people don't notice the
thinner air, some people need a few days to acclimate, and only a very few
suffer. If you have any reason to think
you might have a difficult time with the elevations be
sure to check with your doctor before you leave about a prescription diuretic
Medical Facility. The project has established detailed
emergency procedures for first-aid and evacuations in case someone gets
hurt. Participants should be assured
that a basic first-aid kit will be available at all project sites and a dedicated
medical clinic is located in Cangahua. The nearest advanced medical facilities are
in Cayambe and Quito. Depending on the type of emergency, we will
transport participants to either of these locations.
Acceptance of Risk.
We take all practicable measures to minimize risks to the safety and
well-being of all participants in this program.
Nonetheless, it is in the nature of things that not all risk can be
eliminated. In particular, the risks of
road accidents and other health emergencies far from first-class health-care
facilities are real. By taking part in
the program, you accept these risks for your own account and agree to hold the
project directors and staff free of responsibility for any harm caused to you
other than by the action of the project’s agents.
RECOMMENDED ITEMS TO BRING
Here’s the trick about Ecuador that may surprise you: most any
generic personal item can be purchased in Ecuador (shampoo, bath
towels, wool hats, etc.). However, you should definitely bring any unique
personal items that are especially important, such as medication, eyewear, footwear,
In selecting items for your
time in Ecuador,
be practical as well as flexible. Again,
the highland environment is windy and sometimes chilly with slight drizzles
during the day. Bring clothes that dry
fast and are not heavy if they get wet.
We recommend wearing heavy pants with long underwear in the field (not shorts), and we recommend layering
with long-sleeve items under a fleece layer and a heavy windbreaker or
raincoat. Wide-brimmed hats are good
protections against the sun; also bring lots of sunscreen. One pair of sturdy hiking boots is highly
recommended for your trip, and you should know that no matter how nice and
expensive the boots are you will wear them down. Your boots should be comfortable and
waterproof, or fast-drying in case they get wet. Lastly, a day pack would be good for carrying
your lunch and note book during survey or when traveling to site visits.
If you are partial to certain
tools that you’ve used in the field in the past we ask that you bring them for
use in the excavations. Favorite items
owned by many archaeologists might include a pointing trowel with a 5-6 inch
blade, a small line level, a retracting-blade tape measure marked with metric
graduations, maybe some brushes, and a whisk broom. If you want to start your own ‘dig kit’ we
suggest "Forestry Supplies" and "Ben Meadows" (available
online). If none of this makes any sense
then remember that the project supplies tools as well.
Here is a list of the items you should consider bringing on your trip:
photocopies of essential documentation
winter, low-temperature sleeping bag
large back-pack (large enough for a weekend
small day back-pack (large enough for a day in
heavy-duty plastic bags (for keeping stuff
organized and dry)
underwear and long underwear
long-sleeve work shirts, t-shirts
sweaters, fleece pullovers, warm vests
heavy windbreaker, raincoat
jeans and long pants
shorts and swimsuit
warm wool socks
hiking boots, sneakers, bath sandals
winter hat, warm gloves, neck scarf
sunblock (maximum SPF)
flashlight and extra batteries
music (Walkman etc)
warm work gloves
personal water bottle