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Archaeology & Anthropology Field Schools

Asia - Philippines - University of Guam Ifugao Archaeology Field School - 2013

Archaeology Field School Location and Dates

Application Deadline
Start Date 2013-06-03
End Date 2013-07-16

Archaeology Field School Location

Ifugao, Philippines

Archaeology Field School Tuition and Credits

Sponsoring College/Institution

University of Guam

Academic Credit

at least 6-credit hours

Archaeology Field School Tuition

about $1,800 for six credits

Archaeology Field School Room and Board


Archaeology Field School Travel
US-Manila $1,200.00
Additional Information on Tution/Room and Board/Travel Costs

Field school fee covers accommodation, meals, internal travel, and field supplies. Participants are responsible for travel costs to and from Manila, visa fees, and health insurance.

Archaeology Field School Description

Student-participants will be directly involved in the Ifugao Archaeological Project:

The Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) landscape in the highland Cordillera, Northern Philippines provides anthropologists with excellent opportunity to understand human-environment interaction. However, the IRT’s past is still uncertain, owing to a dearth of archaeological studies in the region. Models on the origins of the agricultural technology revolves around either a ‘long history’ or the revisionist ‘short history’ models, where the former looks at a 2,000-3,000-year inception of the terraces, while the former suggests a European-colonialism influenced beginnings.
The Ifugao Archaeological Project’s (IAP) recent studies however, suggest a climate-change related subsistence shift in the highlands of the Philippine Cordillera. Results of radiocarbon determinations and palynological analyses suggest a shift from taro-based production to wet-rice cultivation at ca. AD 1300, coinciding with the Little Ice Age that would have made the lowland northern Philippines drier.

Agricultural systems have been one of the focal points of archaeological studies concerning the development of cultural complexity. The relationship of agricultural features to social organization has been almost exclusively linked to each phenomenon. The co-occurrence of complex farming techniques with elaborate architecture and exotic material remains is the standard against which archaeologists measure cultural complexity and dependency on agricultural production.
This interest offers two important contributions to the archaeology of complexity: the first is the identification of a variety of agricultural features, including rock-bordered grid complexes, terraces, dams, floodplain field locations, reservoirs, and irrigation canals. The second contribution has been the recognition that some of these technologies were highly labor intensive and others were land extensive.

This project will use the cultural landscape of the Ifugao as a case study; it will also establish baseline data for GIS that will be useful for conservation projects in the rice terraces of northern Philippines. The Ifugaos are located in the Central Cordillera highlands of Northern Philippines, in the province of Ifugao. They have significantly modified their landscape through farming activities; terraces and irrigation canals dominate their landscape. The complex agricultural features and techniques in the region suggest highly labor-intensive process. However, Ifugao society does not show the complexity usually correlated with such agricultural features. This project aims to understand this relationship using GIS as a tool to understand environmental constraints that hamper the development of a more complex political system in the region. Corollary to this interest are the goals of dating the rice terraces, developing a model of growth centers through GIS-modeling, effects of assessing effect of European colonialism to political and economic patterns, and establishing a GIS database which could help improve conservation and heritage management programs in the region.
Investigations in Ifugao are a continuation collaborative research program between the PI and the community. A research strategy that includes the use of GIS technology, ethnographic interviews, geoarchaeology, palynology, and faunal analyses has been successfully applied in the region. The project will expand the current GIS database that should aid in developing a settlement growth model. This work also entails documenting the composite agricultural system of the Ifugao.

Archaeology Field School Additional Information

Archaeology Field School Type

Prehistoric, historic

Field School Setting/Conditions

The sites are located in the highland Cordillera. There are cellphone signals, but internet access will be intermittent.

How is the project area accessed each day

While in Kiangan, a 15-minute jeep ride is needed to reach the site. In Hapao, the crew will be staying in a village adjacent to the site.

What is the daily schedule for the field school

Monday-Saturday, half-day Sunday

Number of years this Archaeology Field School has been in operation
Is there a professional certification for this field school


Directors and Instructors

Stephen Acabado, University of Guam
Marlon Martin, Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement, Inc.
Ana Labrador, National Museum of the Philippines
John Peterson, University of Guam
Grace Barretto-Tesoro, University of the Philippines

Specialized skills you will have the opportunity to learn

Students will learn:

to map using a Digital Total Station
the use of GPS in field survey
to identify artifacts and ecofacts
to identify features and sites
to document archaeological sites
the 'landscape archaeology' approach
site survey techniques
soil classification and description
artifacts, feature and site sketching
field analysis of common artifacts types
scientific field photography
field map-making using plane table and total station
lab and cataloging methods

On rain days will there be lab work?


Will there be additional organized activities?

Yes, field trips in Ifugao (UNESCO World heritage sites)

Will there be additional organized activities?

Lectures at night

Is travel restriced during free time?

Group travel is allowed during freetime

Archaeology Field School Contact Information and Website

Field School Website:

Field School Contact Information

Stephen Acabado, Division of Humanities, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, University of Guam, Mangilao, GU

Field School Contact E-mail:
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