Peru - Chincha


The Paracas cultures of southern Peru produced some of the most spectacular textile and ceramic art in the ancient world. Major concentrations of Paracas sites and artifacts stretch from the coastal valleys of Cañete to Acari, with the majority found in the Ica, Pisco, and Chincha valleys. Recent excavations over the past three years by our team, the Proyecto Archaeologica Chincha (PACH) suggest that Chincha was a major, if not the major center of Paracas political and ceremonial life. This field school will focus on two major Paracas mound sites in southern Peru’s Chincha Valley: Huaca Soto (PV-57-26) and La Cumbe (PV57-3). These sites flourished between 400-1 BCE, and while they are primarily monumental architecture, domestic contexts and cemeteries exist around the bases of each. Using evidence recovered from archaeological excavation, we will study the nature Paracas ceremonial spaces as a window into understanding the development of political life, early leadership strategies, appropriation by later groups seeking legitimacy, commerce of valuable goods between the coast and highlands, and how individuals rendered life meaningful through ritual practice. Students will have the opportunity to excavate at both Huaca Soto, a massive platform mound characteristic of Paracas ritual architecture near the coast, and at La Cumbe, a mound with Paracas beginnings that may have been a major coastal oracle during the time of the Inkas. 

Peru - Chincha - Institute for Field Research Field Schools Peru - Chincha 18-35 2014-06-20

Course Dates: June 28 - August 1, 2015
Enrollment Status: OPEN 
Total Cost: $ 4,550
Course Type: Field Archaeology
Instructors: Prof. Charles Stanish, Dr. Henry Tantaleán, Mr. Benjamin Nigra



The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general questions (tuition, health insurance, payment schedule) may be addressed by IFR staff. 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.

Charles Stanish

Prof. Charles Stanish

Prof. Stanish is the Director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences.  For more information, click here.
Henry Tantaleán

Dr. Henry Tantaleán

Dr. Tantaleán is an Associate Investigator at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA and at the Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos (Peru). 
Benjamin Nigra

Mr. Benjamin Nigra

Mr. Benjamin Nigra ( is a doctoral student at UCLA in the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. His research interests include the evolution of cooperation and the development of social complexity in the Peruvian Andes.


"Excavating in Peru was one of the determinant reasons I have decided to study all aspects of Latin American anthropology.  I enjoyed the people, the food, and the local and foreign scholars involved in the program."

-Joel Duran, UCLA (2014)

"Participating in this program was one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life. The experience I gained from living, working and studying in Chincha was one that I’ll never forget. I expanded my horizons far beyond any classroom and learned more than I ever could inside of one. I learned important archaeological methods and tools as well as learning the cultural history of Peru. I expected to learn these things. What I did not expect, however, was learning more about myself than I ever thought possible, I learnt Spanish to a far higher degree than I could ever previously dream of, I expanded my view of the world and its people, and I learnt the value of a hard day’s work and the beauty of a good shower afterward. I could never anticipate the knowledge and experience that I gained this past summer in Chincha. Furthermore, I was surrounded by a community of like-minded people who became some of my closest friends. I worked alongside graduate students and professors who taught me so much. All in all, an amazingly fun, exciting, life changing experience that I’ll always remember."

-Andrew John Harris UCLA (2014)

"This field school has been one of the definitive experiences of my life. It allowed me to help me build crucial skills within and outside of archaeology that I will take with me throughout my entire life. During my time in Peru, I learned how to interact and adapt in areas I was not familiar with, a valuable skill set no matter what path you decide to take. I also developed life-long friendships that expand beyond borders. Regardless of what field you want to be in, an experience like this will benefit you greatly."

-Top Triamwong, UCLA (2014)

“This field school offered a well-rounded student experience that involved us in many different steps of the archaeological research process from mapping and survey to excavation and analyzing material in the lab. Because this was a new project, the element of uncertainty and potential for discovery made the research exciting and very real. The Chincha field school was very much a "live," dynamic research project, and since we were a small group, we benefited from being able to do work closely with fellow undergraduates and with graduate students and professors. Living off the beaten track of Peru's tourist cities and working with Peruvian students also provided a refreshingly unique and enjoyable cultural perspective that left most of us hoping to see more of the country. Overall, the project was fun, academically motivating, and made me want to pursue archaeology."

-Camillle Weinberg, UCLA (2012)

"Chincha was an amazing experience that removed any doubts I had about pursuing archaeology. I learned basic skills required for the field while immersing myself within the Peruvian culture. I always found myself having fun, whether I was interacting with the people, learning their history or digging on the site. This is something I would definitely do again."

-Michael Rosales, UC Santa Barbara (2012)




Student Fees

Payment by Cashier or Personal Check 

Deposit: 500 USD
Tuition: 4,050 USD
TOTAL: 4,550 USD

What is Covered: Your tuition covers all costs associated with instruction, research, local room and board, transportation while at the field school and the full costs of a comprehensive health insurance for international programs. Students must present proof of health insurance for domestic programs. In some cases, students are responsible for food on weekends as we assume students would like to sample local cuisine on their own.

What is not Covered: Costs of travel to and from field school meeting point as described in the program syllabus, travel insurance for airline tickets, costs of entry visa (if any) to the country in which the field school will takes place, cost of immunizations or prescribed medication, personal expenses for items such as gifts to family & friends, phone calls, etc.

For all Domestic Programs: The IFR cannot purchase a short term health insurance on your behalf. A proof of health insurance is required.

Payment Methods: Payments may be made by check, cashier check or credit card. All payments must be made in US Dollars. Checks must be made payable to the “Institute for Field Research”. Please write your program name on the memo line. A $29.00 fee will be assessed for all returned checks.

Financial Aid Recipients: Please carefully read our Financial Aid Section.

  • A 2% 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 April 18, 2015.


Students will live in comfortable, but modest housing in the city of Chincha Alta.  Conditions at the field house are basic and students should expect shared accommodations.     

MEALS:  All meals will be communal events and will provide plenty of nutritious but basic food in the tradition of local cuisine. The daily diet in Peru is heavily based on rice, corn, potatoes and meat.  Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, etc.) are near impossible to maintain in this location. Vegetarians may attend but will find options limited.