Project Description


For decades, going off the beaten path to explore the depths of the Amazon has been nearly impossible. Until recently, we knew little about cultural relationships and boundary lands for large regions of the Amazon. In 2014, the Amazonian Interfluvial Archaeological Project began exploring human occupation in a little-known eco-region of the Amazon – the headwaters of the river drainages – providing exciting new insights into human/environment co-evolution in this remote area.  The project focused primarily on ‘terra preta’ (‘black earth’), local soils that have been enriched by organic waste and human actions. Our primary research objective for the 2017 season is to determine the site’s internal variability. Due to the perishable nature of building materials in the Amazon, there are no visible architectural features on the surface or below. But enriched ‘terra preta’ soils can be identified and used for mapping and delineation of inter and intra site boundaries. We will also expand excavations in one of these areas to identify residential contexts and local micro stratigraphy.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: Jul16-Aug 13, 2017
  • Enrollment Status: CLOSED
  • Total Cost: $4,250
  • Course Type: Field Archaeology
  • Payment Deadline: Apr 21, 2017
  • Instructors: Dr. Myrtle Shock
  • Orientation:  TBA
Program Closed
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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.

Dr. Myrtle Shock
Dr. Myrtle Shock
Dr. Shock is a Professor at the Universidade Federal do Oeste de Pará in Brazil and holds her Doctorate Degree from the University of California Santa Barbara.


The Claudio Cutião Field School was an amazing experience. This field school has given me a fantastic and comprehensive background on the archaeological methods and techniques used in the field and it has really allowed me to build upon my skills as an archaeology and anthropology student. One of the greatest strengths of this field school is that it brings together a diverse array of fields so that the archaeological work is engaged not only with cultural questions but also with questions relating to the ecological and geographical contexts within the Central Amazon. Our work was rigorous and intensive and involved field methods like excavation, screening, surveying, and site mapping, as well as lab methods like lithic and ceramic analyses. The fieldwork also offered an unforgettable intercultural experience and my time at this site was really enriched by all of the people whom I was able to work and spend time with. This has been one of the most important experiences of my degree and I would absolutely recommend this extremely unique field school to any archaeology student, especially to those interested in Amazonian and South American archaeology.
Aaron Cathers, University of Victoria (2015)
I attended the fieldschool as a graduate student in archaeology working in the Brazilian Central Amazon. This fieldschool provided me with the opportunity to not only meet other archaeologists and archaeology students working in Brazil, but also taught me a great deal about the environment and how to excavate in it. This project incorporated a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding site use. The fieldschool was designed in such a way that everyone had an opportunity to experience all the various aspects of an archaeology dig. Living and working in the Amazon for the duration of the fieldschool was a challenging and exciting life changing experience. I would highly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity.
Eden Washburn, University California Santa Cruz (2015)

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.


Students will live at a farm house which serves as our base and is situated in a remote area of the jungle along the Pardo River. While in Manaus, students will be provided with hotel lodging. The farm house has been inhabited and farmed for the last twenty years so we will camp around their fruit trees.  Conditions are basic, we use well water and ecological toilets. Students must bring their own tents and will sleep in their tents or in hammocks with mosquito netting on clear nights.

MEALS: All meals will be communal events and will provide plenty of nutritious but basic food. The daily diet in Brazil is heavily based on rice, beans, and meat. Due to our remote location, access to fruits and vegetables is limited as they do not preserve well without refrigeration.  Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, etc.) are impossible to maintain in this remote location.

Claudio Cutiao, Brazil

Travel Info

Students arriving by air will be met at the Eduardo Gomes International Airport, Manaus (MAO) by project staff members. Students must arrive in Manaus by July 16 (Sunday) as the course activities begin on the morning of July 17 (Monday). Students arriving by boat will be directed to meet staff at the expedition hotel. Hotel information will be provided to all enrolled students. Work will be completed and students will return to Manaus on August 13 (Sunday). Students will be able to depart for onward travel or return home anytime on August 14 (Monday). For continued travel in Brazil or elsewhere in South America check your baggage weight limits ahead of time as they are less than on international flights.

If you miss your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text or email Dr. Shock. Her local cell phone number will be provided to all enrolled students.

VISA REQUIREMENTS: Brazil requires visas from many countries, including the United States. Check to see if you need a visa through the Brazilian Consulates. All students will enter Brazil on tourist visas. Students must acquire these visas through the appropriate Brazilian Consulates before travel to the country. Visa applications need to be turned in ahead of time as they may take weeks to process and applications will require additional paperwork. There are businesses that offer the service of delivering your application to the consulate or you may personally schedule to leave an application at the consulate. If an address in Brazil is requested contact the project director who will supply one. There is a fee for tourist visas. For more information visit the US State Department Travel Advice page.

HEALTH ISSUES: For specific information regarding travel health issues pertinent to travel in Brazil, consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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.