Project Description

IFR policy requires that prior to traveling, all field school students must have completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series AND received the most recent booster dose recommended by the CDC, if eligible.

All IFR field school applicants should familiarize themselves with IFR COVID-19 Practices BEFORE enrolling in a program. These practices are subject to change as health and risk management experts provide new recommendations and best practices.

You may want to refer to the following websites to stay informed of COVID-19 case numbers and regulations/policies for Colombia:

The US Embassy in Colombia
CDC COVID-19 in Colombia


The islands of Old Providence and Santa Catalina have been a center of global trade and commerce since the establishment of the original English colony in 1629 and are still occupied by the descendants of the original settlers to this day. Puritan venture capitalists financed the primary colonization of Old Providence and Santa Catalina –whose founding members arrived on the Seaflower, sister ship to the Mayflower– one year after the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in what was to become the United States. From 1629-1630, colonists, under the direction of the Providence Island Company, constructed a town, New Westminster, and several forts; the largest, Fort Warwick, located on Santa Catalina Island. Around 1636, it became clear that the Islands would not have enough agricultural productivity to sustain the population, much less produce surplus. Thus, as an economic supplement, the London-based directors of the Providence Island Company approved the conduct of buccaneering against Spanish ships and mainland settlements.

Since 1629, the Islands’ have been episodically under the administration of England, Spain, English & French privateers, and Colombia; and served time as a base for the privateer Henry Morgan in the late 1600s and as a residence of Pablo Escobar in the 1980s. In addition to a colorful colonial and modern history, the Islands have had a compelling contemporary history. An airport, paved roads, and electricity did not arrive on the Islands until the 1980s, when the population was around 800 individuals. In a mere 30 years, the population has risen to around 5,800. The Islands have changed substantially in the very recent past not only spatially and materially, but also culturally, linguistically, economically, and environmentally due to marine life degradation (loss of flora and fauna), rising seas and changing weather patterns, and most recently, the devastating effects of hurricane Iota in November 2020.

The original (1629) Puritan settlements on the Islands –and subsequent population movement between the flat coastal areas and the mountainous interior over the past 393 years– is almost completely unknown archaeologically, though extensive oral and documentary records exist. A major goal of the research is to locate the original town of New Westminster, which is known to have had at least two brick buildings. Data collected during recent field seasons provided tantalizing clues to the location of these structures, but their exact locations remain unknown.

This project seeks to understand Old Providence and Santa Catalina as a unique cultural-historical and material biome…a community with ties to and reliance on variable international and sociopolitical market economies from the Colony’s inception in 1629 to today. The Islands’ social, economic, and material connections to the global world and between groups and individuals present in this discrete place forged a unique context and thus, associated behaviors, which can be observed in the documentary, oral, material, and spatial records. Therefore, by conferring with Native voices and applying archaeological and anthropological foundations, methods, and solutions, the project seeks to clarify the historical timeline of Old Providence and Santa Catalina and to elucidate localized strategies utilized by Raizal peoples to negotiate the complex relationships between and among variable stakeholders embedded within the colonial- and modern-industrial complexes.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: June 24- July 19, 2023

  • Enrollment Status: Closed

  • Total Cost: $5,195

  • Course Type: Historical Archaeology, Ethnography & Community Oriented Outreach

  • Tuition Payment Deadline: April 25, 2023

  • Instructors: Dr. Tracie Mayfield

  • Orientation: May 13, 1 pm PT
  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Units)



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. Tracie Mayfield
Dr. Tracie Mayfield
Dr. Mayfield is a lecturer at University of Southern California.


Field School testimonials coming soon!

Tuition Includes:

  • Costs of Instruction
  • Room & Partial Board
  • All Local Transportation
  • Health & Evacuation Insurance
  • Cost of Academic Credit Units

Student Fees

Application Fee: There is a $25 fee to submit an online application.

Deposit Payment:

  • Once you have been accepted to a program, you must place a nonrefundable $500 deposit fee to hold your seat in the program until the tuition payment deadline. The tuition payment deadline can be found in the top right of each field school’s web page under “Course Details”.
  • The $500 deposit fee is included as part of your total tuition fee and NOT in addition to it.

Tuition Fee 

  • The tuition balance is the total program tuition fee minus the $500 deposit fee.
  •  The full tuition fee must be paid by the tuition payment deadline in order to secure your seat in the program.
  • If you do not pay the full tuition fee by the deadline, your place in the program is no longer secure, and if you are unable to participate in the program for any reason, our Late Withdrawal policy below will apply.

Late Fee: A $100 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the tuition payment deadline.

Withdrawal Policy: If you place a deposit but decide to withdraw, you must notify IFR staff in writing before the tuition payment deadline. In the event of withdrawal, the $500 nonrefundable deposit fee remains nonrefundable and will not be refunded.

Late Withdrawal: If you paid the deposit fee but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition fee regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information.

Cancellation Policy: In the event that IFR must cancel a field school, all accepted students will be notified as soon as possible and will receive a refund of all tuition paid including the deposit fee. IFR offers students the opportunity to transfer to another field school, permitting that there are spots available and the program director approves the student to participate in their field school. Upon approval of the program director, IFR staff will make the arrangements to transfer the student’s application and payments.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 3.5% processing fee is automatically incurred for all credit/debit card/online payments.

Academic Credit Opt Out: Students who wish to participate in an IFR field school without earning academic credit units may do so and receive the following discounts: $300 off a full program (4 or more weeks in length) or $200 off a short program (2-3 weeks in length).

Trip Cancellation Insurance: Please consider purchasing a travel interruption insurance policy that will cover your travel cost and the cost of the IFR program once you make a commitment to attend a field school.

The added risk of COVID-19  should be a “covered event” in your policy.
Please note that the cost of coverage varies, based on your age, the program duration and geographical location.
You may get help and advice from your insurance broker and we offer the links below to help you educate yourself on these insurance products.
– Compare quotes from different companies offering Trip Cancelation insurance plans.


Students and faculty will be housed at Posada Enilda Bed and Breakfast located in the south of the Island in an area called Bottom House. Students do not need to reserve their own rooms, this will already be taken care of before they arrive. This posada is a fully modern facility with comfortable outdoor seating areas, shared dining room, and other amenities, such as air-conditioning, in- room safes, and personal refrigerators, and is extremely comfortable. The husband and wife owners are excited about hosting the students and we have enjoyed our stays in past years, immensely. Security cameras monitor the grounds and the main gate is locked at night. Old Providence is a safe island, with little serious crime.

PLEASE NOTE: Rooms are assigned upon your arrival, and you will be randomly assigned one to two roommates; but you may absolutely switch roommates, if needed. Take the first day to get to know your colleagues, and then work out room groupings that will best suit your individual (and thus, the group’s) needs. However, given the circumstances of COVID, these decisions will need to be made the very first day. Thereafter, roommates will form “pods”, or two-person groupings that limit their non- distanced social contact to one another for the duration of the field Program.

Room and board at the Posada includes breakfast, every day, and lunch, Monday through Saturday, which will be served in the field or in the dining area at Posada Enilda. Dinners (and lunches on Sundays) will not be provided by the program, but Posada Enilda will offer a $5.00 (USD) dinner option (every evening – meat and meatless choices) that students can order at breakfast. Additionally, Posada Enilda serves large, economical dinners on their regular menu, and restaurants and grocery stores are available on the Island where students can purchase meals. In past years, students have gone in together to buy a crock pot and took turns making dinners, as well. Food borne illness will be minimized by drinking only bottled water, which will be provided at the Posada so students can fill their bottles, multiple times every day. The owners of the Posada can meet most dietary needs (vegetarians, vegans, and lactose intolerant), other than Kosher, although if given enough advance time to order supplies and with specific instructions/ consultation, the Posada may be able to meet Kosher needs as well, so please contact the Director if this is of interest to you. Laundry services are also offered at the Posada; which you can request when you check in after arriving on site.

Meals at the Posada will be served in the outside dining room and veranda, which is well ventilated. As an extra precaution, students should eat alone or within their room pod at separate tables. Meals are served by the Posada staff and brought directly to your table.

Rooms are cleaned by the Posada staff every other day, but students are required to take steps to ensure proper daily cleaning such as wiping down shared areas (e.g. bathroom, desks, door handles, etc.) multiple times a day and depositing trash in the outside receptacles each time you leave your room. Students should either bring disinfecting products or plan on buying cleaning materials soon after arriving.

There is a laundry facility onsite where you can do your own laundry for free. If you would like laundry services (pick-up and delivery outside your room), you can request and pay for this service at the front desk.

Travel Info

Due to ongoing uncertainties regarding the travel regulations related to COVID-19, IFR will assess the local conditions closer to the travel date (5–6 weeks prior to the program beginning) and will make Go/No Go decisions then. We urge you to participate in the mandatory orientation meeting when we will discuss the latest travel information and regulations. We also suggest you consider postponing the purchase of your airline ticket until after the program orientation.

Students can fly through Bogotá, Colombia; Belize City, Belize; or Panama City, Panama. We recommend Panama City because the flights are generally less expensive than going to Bogotá and more frequent than going through Belize City. The Panama City Airport is a modern, well-appointed facility and the hub for Copa Airlines.

From either Bogotá, Belize City, or Panama City students will need to fly to San Andrés Island (Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport – ADZ) in Colombia.

Getting to this point is very straightforward and can be booked through any of the major travel websites.

Students can then either fly to El Embujo Airport (PVA) or take a boat from San Andrés Island to Providence Island. SATENA, San Germán Express and Decameron airlines fly twice daily and the flight takes 20 minutes. Alternatively, a catamaran service by Conocemos Navegando sails early in the morning from San Andrés five times a week: Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sun. The catamaran departs San Andrés at 8:00am and travel time is 3.5 hours; return trips to San Andrés depart at 2:30pm. If students need to spend the night on San Andrés we recommend the Hotel Casablanca, which is located on the beach.

Program staff will meet students either at the Old Providence Island airport or catamaran seaport.

If you missed your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text or email Program Director immediately. A local emergency cell phone number will be provided to all enrolled students.

Visa Requirements 

All U.S. citizens who do not also hold Colombian citizenship must present a valid U.S. passport to enter and depart Colombia. U.S. citizens traveling to Colombia do not need a Colombian visa for a tourist stay of 90 days or less. Travelers entering Colombia are sometimes asked to present evidence of return or onward travel, usually in the form of a plane ticket. The length of stay granted to travelers is determined by the Colombian immigration officer at the point of entry and will be stamped in your passport. Before the visa expires, travelers may request an extension of up to 90 days.

All persons entering Colombia are assessed a fee of USD $40 or its equivalent in Colombian Pesos (COP) in addition to the airfare or boat fare. Where this fee is collected may vary based on the students’ point of entry into the country. Students are not assessed this fee when leaving Providence Island.

Citizens of countries other than the United States are asked to check the embassy website page at their home country for specific visa requirements.

Student Safety

The IFR primary concern is with education. Traveling and conducting field research involve risk. Students interested in participating in IFR programs must weigh whether the potential risk is worth the value of education provided. While risk is inherent in everything we do, we do not take risk lightly. The IFR engages in intensive review of each field school location prior to approval. Once a program is accepted, the IFR reviews each program annually to make sure it complies with all our standards and policies, including student safety.

Students attending IFR international programs are covered by a comprehensive Health Insurance policy that includes physical illness or injury, mental or chronic conditions. No deductible and 100% of costs are covered up to $250,000. In addition, we provide Political and Natural Disaster Evacuation policy, which allow us to remove students from field school location if local conditions change. Our field school directors are scholars that know field school locations and cultures well and are plugged in into local communities and state institution structures.

Students attending IFR domestic programs (within the US) must have their own health insurance and provide proof upon enrollment. IFR field school directors are familiar with local authorities and if in need of evacuation, local emergency services and/or law enforcement will be notified and activated.

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

Call (877-839-4374) or email ( if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.