Topic ID #30395 - posted 12/17/2013 3:32 PM

Panama- Sitio Drago Field School




Dates: July 06 - August 9, 2014

Project Description: Panama’s Caribbean Bocas del Toro Province was assumed to have been settled only 1400 years ago and to have remained isolated throughout its brief prehistory. Recent research has uncovered much evidence to the contrary. This project seeks to provide a broader range of information to better evaluate the region’s settlement history and developing social complexity. To date the Proyecto Arqueológico Sitio Drago has uncovered evidence of a much older settlement history and illustrated evidence of contact with cultures hundreds of kilometers away. The 2014 field season will focus primarily on excavation and data recovery from a mortuary area in the central part of Sitio Drago.  Previous excavation has uncovered an area adjacent to 5 burials that is rich in artifacts and faunal remains indicative of some sort of ritual feasting activity. We will continue working in this area and gather data to better understand the nature of the proposed ritual behavior and social structure at the site. 


Academic Credits: Attending students will be awarded 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter units) through Connecticut College.

Total Cost: $ 4,750

Accommodations: Student housing is located in Boca del Drago, Isla Colón. Student housing consists of a large rented vacation house, 50m from a white sand beach and 20m from the main road. The house contains 2 indoor showers and 4 indoor toilets. 2 outdoor showers are also available. A maid will clean the bathrooms and public areas of the house once a week. Students will be responsible for maintaining cleanliness and organization at all times. A reverse osmosis water filtration system will provide pure drinking water at the student house.    

Meals: Project staff and students will eat three meals each day together at Restaurante Yarisnori, on the beach in Boca del Drago. The restaurant is inspected and approved by Panamanian health authorities and provides filtered, drinkable water. All meals are prepared fresh by the kitchen staff each day.  Special dietary needs can be adequately addressed as the restaurant has been serving archaeological field schools for the past 10 years. Vegetarian meals are always available and, with prior warning, gluten-free or allergen-free meals can be prepared.

Travel Information: Students will be met by project staff at the Bocas del Toro airport (BOC) on July 6.  Warning: flights to BOC depart from a different airport in which international flights land in Panama.  All international flights to Panama City land at Tocumen International Airport (PTY). Flights to Bocas del Toro, however, depart from the Marcus A. Gelabert Airport (PAC), which is on the other side of Panama City. You will need to use a shuttle or taxi to transfer between these two airports. Please make sure you leave ample time to cross town as it may take several hours to get from PTY across to PAC, depending on traffic. Taxis cost around $30 for the trip and US currency is used in Panama

If you missed your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text or email to the project director.  Local cell phone numbers and other emergency contact information will be provided to all enrolled students.

At present, Air Panama is the only airline that flies between PAC and BOC.  Air Panama is scheduling flights only three months in advance so students are advised to purchase ticket for that portion of their flight after March 2014. Most travel websites (Expedia, Travelocity, etc.) do not list Air Panama flights so you may wish to purchase that portion of your trip separately. 

Visa Requirements: Valid passport for at least three months is required for entry into Panama. U.S. citizens arriving by air or road are permitted to stay in Panama for 180 days without obtaining a formal visa. Upon arriving in Panama, visitors must present a return trip ticket or fare back to their home country or next destination. Panama also requires a completed international boarding card which is provided by the airline and submitted by the traveler at the point of immigration. In addition to this, no less than five-hundred balboas ($500.00) in cash or its equivalent must be presented as proof of financial solvency. For more information, please visit the US State Department Travel Advice page.

Health: For specific information regarding travel health issues pertinent to travel in Panama, consult with the Centers for Disease Control website.

Project Directors and Contact Information: Dr. Thomas A. Wake, UCLA/STRI (; Dr. Tomás E. Mendizabal, Patronato Panama Viejo

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