Monday, February 13, 2012

Ancient cultures come to life through architectural exploration

During the summer, Austin Community College offers nine study abroad programs, which cover interests ranging from anthropology and language immersion to literature and film history. This semester, the Accent will spotlight different study abroad programs in each issue.This summer, as part of ACC's study abroad program, students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Peruvian culture and study anthropology in Peru's capital and largest city, Lima.

Dr. Karen Bell, an adjunct professor of anthropology, will lead the trip.Students will spend three weeks in Peru visiting sites of archaeological and anthropological importance around Lima, all the while earning six credit hours in ANTH 2302 Introduction to Anthropology and ANTH 2373 Field Methods in Archaeology.Bell said Peru holds great importance in the field of anthropology.Peru is one of the two seats of high civilization in the new world, Bell said. What we call Mesoamerica is one, [which is] Mexico and Guatemala essentially. Peru is the other.Students will also have the option of traveling to Machu Picchu, Peru, which is host to a famous site and monument of Incan culture. The cost of this excursion is separate from that of the main program and

participation is not mandatory.I try to show students the archaeology of Peru that is not Machu Picchu, Bell said.Americans ... tend to fly into Lima and the next step is to fly to Cuzco and go to Machu Picchu.She said that while students will have the opportunity to go to Machu Picchu, there is so much spectacular archaeology outside of the city. Her favorite part of Peru is the north coast.We're going to go to a little town of Huanchaco, and that is where the great Moche civilization was," Bell said. "The huge sights of Chan Chan, Huaca de la Luna, El Brujo I'm just amazed at how big they are and we know virtually little about them." She said Americans aren't tuned into those huge sights in Peru especially along the north coast. Bell, who has led the

summer Peru program since 2008, said she is excited to teach students about other civilizations in Peru besides the Incas. Very few of the sights the class will visit outside of Machu Picchu are Incan sights, she said.The Incans were mountain based, up in the Andes, and we're going to be primarily along the coast,Bell said.Most of the sites we'll be seeing will be of other cultures, especially the Moche.Although students will not be studying in a classroom while in Peru, there will be two weeks of class time in Austin associated with the program. Students will be responsible for two major projects during the length of the program, one for each course taught.

In one case, each student will become an expert on each of the archaeological sites we see, Bell said. "In Peru, the student will brief us on the site and what to be especially aware of. At the end, the student will give us a verbal report on the site he or she has become an expert on.The trip itself is an excellent opportunity for students, Bell said, and last year one student got a little extra from the program.Two of our young ladies fell in love with Peruvian men, Bell said. "One of [them] came back to this country, but the other came back, divorced her husband, went back down there and hasn't been heard from since.Shannon Smith is a student who participated in the 2010 Study Abroad program in Peru.There's one site called the Armament Museum... it was amazing, I've never seen more weapons in my life! Smith said.Whether a student's major is anthropology or something completely unrelated, students can find many opportunities for educational and cultural enrichment in Peru this summer with this study abroad program.

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