Volunteer Incan & Wari Archaeology in Peru
- PLACEMENT LOCATION: Lucre valley, Cusco
- ROLE: Working alongside expert Peruvian archaeologists undertaking a combination of archaeological work
- REQUIREMENTS: None
- AREAS OF FOCUS: Investigation, mapping and excavation of ancient pre-Inca structures close to the Pikillaqta National Monument. Prospection excursion parties.
- ACCOMMODATION: Host family
- LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 2 weeks
- START DATES: Flexible
Volunteering with Projects Abroad on our Incan & Wari Archaeology project in Peru is an exciting option for those who are interested in history and ancient civilisations. On this placement, you’ll gain hands-on experience in a number of different archaeological activities.
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Peru in the 16th Century, the land had been ruled for roughly two centuries by the Inca people. During their rule the Incas gained control of an area about one million square kilometres in size, ranging from Colombia to central Chile. The vast Inca Empire had its administrative, political, and military centre in the city of Cusco.
The year 1533 saw an end to the Inca Empire when the Spanish captured Cusco. Despite years of Spanish rule, Peru has managed to retain a rich Incan legacy which can be seen throughout the country. The majestic ruins of Machu Picchu and the Inca capital city of Cusco are among the most fascinating Inca sites.
One of the long-term goals of the Incan & Wari Archaeology project is the investigation and mapping of unregistered structures and forms in Pikillaqta National Park. Volunteers will be working alongside Peruvian experts - John Valencia Cordova is the Director of Archaeology and Delsi Espinoza Masias is the archaeologist assisting on the current archaeological programmes. The project itself is based near the town of Lucre, which is a 40 minute journey from the city centre of Cusco. Volunteers will live with host families in Cusco.
Volunteering Abroad on the Incan & Wari Archaeology Project in Peru
Volunteers will work three days a week on site in the Lucre valley. The other two days will involve office work, classifying ceramics, assisting at the local museums and community work. Archaeological presentations will be given once a week during the office day and volunteers will have the opportunity to attend the weekly Projects Abroad social.
Volunteers and staff will depart to the work site and return to Cusco together at the end of the working day. Archaeological tasks can include exploring the area looking for "new" sites, mapping, excavating, cleaning and maintaining current sites, and classifying artefacts.
- First Agreement – Preliminary investigations in the Lucre Valley (April – early June): The first part of our project entails preliminary investigations. This involves the registration of Inca and pre-Inca tombs, burial chambers, buildings, Inca trails, water channels, terrace systems, petroglyphs and access routes in the district. Volunteers will be involved in the registry works using scales, photographs, GPS and also making physical maps of the structures and forms. We expect these works to take approximately two months to complete. Due to our agreement with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, we cannot advance to the second agreement until the first agreement is completed and a report is presented to the Ministry.
- Second Agreement – Excavations at Unoqochayok y Tantaestancia, Pikillaqta (Early June – Mid October): We expect to commence excavations at six locations close to the National Monument of Pikillaqta, a pre-Inca site dating from the Wari civilization. These excavations will be undertaken during the drier months of the year. Volunteers will travel to the site three days a week to participate in the ‘dig’.
- Analysis and registry of cultural material (Mid October – March 2017): During the wetter months of the year it is not possible to continue with excavations in the Cusco region. The majority of the archaeological work undertaken during this time of the year occurs indoors. Volunteer activities include, but are not limited to: cleaning and codifying evidence, analysis and classification of cultural material, and drawing and registering evidence before the final presentation is made to the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.
- Site visits: Apart from the activities mentioned above, volunteers will visit archaeological sites in the Cusco region once or twice a week, depending on the time of year. They will be accompanied by a project archaeologist and will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss different aspects of these sites with them.
- Weekly office registry works: Volunteers will work in the office on Friday afternoons and transfer all weekly registry works onto computer to help prepare the reports to be presented to the Peruvian Ministry of Culture. This also gives the staff and volunteers a chance to plan the forthcoming week’s activities and discuss any problems encountered during the previous week. At the end of the project in March 2017, all volunteers who participated on the report will receive an electronic copy.
- Museum work: Every Monday afternoon the volunteers will help the local museums in Cusco with translations and codifying objects.
- Archaeology presentations: Once a week volunteers will be given a presentation related to the Incan & Wari Archaeology Project. Topics may include: Machu Picchu, Inca architecture, Andean construction techniques and Ancient Andean Beliefs. Again, the project archaeologist will be on hand to answer any questions that volunteers may have regarding the presentation.
- Classification of ceramics: Volunteers will help to measure, clean, classify and describe ceramics every Monday morning at the Projects Abroad office.
Community Work in Peru with Projects Abroad
From May-December 2016 our community activities will take place in the Lucre Valley at a small primary school in Huacarpay. Activities will include, but are not limited to: clearing pathways and making the playground safe, painting classrooms and school furniture, and preparing educational materials for the teachers and students. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to interact with the students during their lunch break. This project is part of our legal agreement with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.
Volunteer Community in Peru
Every Wednesday afternoon Projects Abroad organises a social event for volunteers based in the Cusco region. This gives the volunteers from projects based in Cusco and the Sacred Valley the opportunity to meet up on a social level. Social activities include: cooking classes, salsa lessons, nature hikes, and ceramic workshops. The locations of the socials change between Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
This placement is fully researched, safety audited and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.
All volunteers taking part on any project in Peru now have the opportunity to add a 1 Week Conservation Add-On to the end of their main placement.
If you have qualifications or experience in this field then we can make use of your skills. Read more about the opportunities for skilled volunteers in Peru.