Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project (BVAR)
The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project (BVAR) has been conducting archaeological investigation in western Belize since 1988. The research interests of this NAU-based interdisciplinary project include questions relating to the rise of Maya civilization in western Belize, the application of Lidar survey and archaeological data for understanding the settlement systems and dynamic political landscape of the Belize River Valley, the role of caves in Maya culture, ancient Maya responses to climate change, and the decline of elite political organization during the 10th century A.D. In its effort to address these multi-faceted questions, the project applies a regional approach to its investigations, conducting research at the ancient Maya sites of Baking Pot, Cahal Pech, Lower Dover and Xunantunich. These sites are among the largest prehistoric Maya cities in the upper Belize River Valley and served as the capitals to petty kingdoms in the Classic period (c. A.D. 250-900). As part of its research activities, the BVAR project also operates an annual Field Methods in Archaeology course for undergraduates, and provides thesis research opportunities for Masters students in the graduate program at NAU.
Dr. Jaime Awe is the director of BVAR and the field school where many NAU students have learned Archaeological methods.
The project includes both volunteer and for-credit opportunities for undergraduate students as well as graduate students.
BVAR’s field school is planning for summer 2021.