Project Description


The Masis Blur Archaeological Project is investigating one the of the first farming settlements in the Ararat Plain of Armenia, named Masis Blur, to better understand how farming and sedentism became an established way of life in this region. The site dates to ca. 6200 BCE and was continuously occupied for nearly a millennium. At Masis Blur we have uncovered well-preserved Neolithic houses with accompanying storage bins, trash middens, and open courtyards used for day-to-day activities. The rich artifact assemblages attest to a lively village community that engaged in farming and animal husbandry, and processed minerals to obtain colorful pigments used in painting.

In 2018 students will take part in the excavation of a unit opened in 2017 as well as the opening of a new excavation unit. Set within the wider context of Armenian Neolithic archaeology, students will learn a range of excavation techniques, as well as methods of processing, documentation, and analysis of prehistoric material remains.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: June 24-July 28, 2018
  • Enrollment Status: OPEN
  • Total Cost: $4,220
  • Course Type: Field Archaeology
  • Payment Deadline: April 20, 2018
  • Instructors: Dr. Alan Farahani, Ms. Kristine Martirosyan-Olshansky
  • Online Orientation: May 6, 2018, 4:00 PM PST
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The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Ms. Kristine Martirosyan-Olshansky
Ms. Kristine Martirosyan-OlshanskyDirector
Ms. Martirosyan-Olshansky is Assistant Director, Research Program in Armenian Archaeology & Ethnography, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA
Dr. Alan Farahani
Dr. Alan Farahani Director
Dr. Farahani is Postdoctoral Fellow & Director of the Ancient Agriculture and Paleoethnobotany Laboratory, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA


This is a new IFR field school. There are no student testimonials available at this time.

Tuition Includes:

  • Costs of instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credits
  • Room & board
  • All local transportation
  • Health Insurance

Student Fees

A nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required to secure a seat in this program.  This program requires an application (no application fee is requested). Only accepted students should pay the deposit fee. Deposit fee is part of the program Tuition. The remaining tuition, minus the $500 deposit, must be paid prior to the tuition deadline (see above under “Course Details”).

Important Note: If you were accepted to this program but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition regardless of attendance in this program. Please read the IFR Cancellation Policy for further clarification.

  • A 2.5% Processing Fee is automatically assessed for all credit/debit card payments
  • A $100 Late Fee will be assessed if full tuition payment is not completed by the deadline.
  • Look at the field school syllabus above for room & board details.


Lodging: Students and staff will be staying in a dedicated excavation house in a quiet neighborhood in Yerevan. The accommodations are shared bedrooms, with two to five persons per room. Western-style showers and plumbing will be available at the excavation house, along with a kitchen and basic supplies for after-hours self-service. Sheets, pillows, and towels will be provided, but participants should bring personal hygiene products or purchase these in Yerevan. The dig house will have WIFI.

Meals: Three meals (Armenian cuisine) per day are provided during the work week (Monday-Saturday). Students are responsible for their weekend meals (Sat dinner and Sun breakfast and lunch). This program can accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets. However, kosher and gluten-free diets are not possible to accommodate at this location.

Travel Info

Students should arrive to the Yerevan International Airport (EVN) on June 24, 2018. Student will be met by project staff members at the arrival area. Students must send flight arrival information to project directors and coordinate meeting times. If you missed your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text or email the project director immediately. A local emergency cell phone number will be provided to all enrolled students.

VISA REQUIREMENTS Citizens of the US, UK and Canada are allowed visa-free entry to Armenia for up to 180 days per year. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months past departure date from Armenia. Student should enter Armenia as tourists. Citizens of other countries are asked to visit the Armenia Consulate General web page at their home countries for specific visa requirements.

Student Safety

Student safety is paramount for the IFR. Unlike many universities who are self-insured, the IFR purchases a range of high end insurance policies from some of the largest insurers in the world. Students in all our international programs have a comprehensive health insurance policy. It covers sickness, and chronic and mental health conditions at 100% of the cost. We have a strong evacuation and extraction policy. We can remove students from any location anywhere in the world with one phone call – whether medical evacuation, political or natural disaster extraction and anything in between. We purchase intelligence services from a global private provider and monitor the world 24/7. We automatically enroll our students to the US State Department STEP program. All of our students receive safety orientations both before and on the first day of each program. Our faculty have all been working in the areas where we operate field schools for years. They are intimately familiar with local customs and traditions, know the landscape well and have deep relationships with local communities.

All our domestic programs are coordinated with local authorities which are informed of our operations. Students in domestic programs are covered by their own health insurance and evacuations are managed by local emergency services, as appropriate.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field (click here for a shortcut). If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with the field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students can contact IFR personnel directly.

Travel does involve risk, but we try to minimize this risk as much as possible. Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of particular programs.