Florida Atlantic University Archaeological and Ethnographic Field Programs in Ecuador
June 24, 2023 - August 6, 2023
The Ecuador Field School Programs in the Department of Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University have operated courses for anthropological and archaeological training in methods for undergraduate and graduate students since 1997. Over the past nineteen years the program has trained approximately 400 students from FAU and universities in the U.S., Europe, and South America. As of 2016, ten students have completed M.A. theses from work in the Ecuador Field Program and three more are in the final stages of writing their dissertations.
Both the archaeological and ethnographic programs are organized as ongoing research projects that reflect the interests of the faculty involved. That is, while our orientation is primarily focused on providing students with methodological training, this training occurs within the context of accomplishing our research objectives. The ethnographic and archeological research programs are unified, centering on understanding local subsistence practices in variegated micro-ecosystems. We are building a record for how people in coastal Ecuador have made use of multiple such ecosystems within a relatively small space from about 5,000 years ago to the present.
A few years ago we began to open up new areas to our research program, as we initiated archaeological survey in an interior river valley. This new area makes possible future expansions of our program into the field of primatology, as the area is populated with a number of distinct monkey species. One student conducted a census of the primate populations. We believe our program has the potential for a number of new programs, including tropical forest ecology, zoology, geography, art, and history.
Archaeology in Ecuador
The FAU Ecuador Archaeological Field Program is built on providing students with the best possible foundation in excavation, survey and laboratory techniques through hands-on participation in an ongoing archaeological research project. The archaeological work has been organized and headed by Valentina Martinez. Excavation and survey take place in coastal Ecuador, at the Salango site and other areas with south-central Manabi Province.
Ethnography in Ecuador
The FAU Ecuador Ethnographic Field Program is directed by Michael Harris and is focused on an intensive immersion into ethnographic methods used in cultural anthropology, in which students apply interviewing, sampling, mapping, participation observation, and analytic techniques in a small Ecuadorian village. Most of the ethnographic work takes place in the village of Salango, a fishing village along the Pacific coast. The programs address a critical component of the undergraduate Anthropology curriculum that requires six credit hours of research.