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Machu Colca  | Sacred Valley
Cusco, Peru

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Notable artifacts & features: 
Ceramic artifacts from the Inca, Moche, Chancay and Chimu cultures

Age, Period or Culture: Inca: c.1400-1532
Amphora
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Description:

Join a new archaeological excavation in the land of the Incas in Peru. The site called Machu Colca is near Cusco, which was the capital of the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyu). This is a bundled experience, with excavation and additional weekend travel itineraries included in the cost.

The site itself is close to the town of Urubamba within the Sacred Valley. It is here that some of the longest terrace systems in Peru are located. This is a well-known site that has yet to be fully investigated. Right now, we don’t yet have a great deal of info, hence the need to excavate and study further! We know that it is an Inca structure and that the colcas (qolqas) were communal storerooms for food, clothing, tools, weapons etc. There are terrace systems throughout the Sacred Valley so this suggests it was a storeroom for food like maize, potatoes, cereals etc.. The cool, high altitude is another indicator to support that the location was chosen to conserve agricultural produce.

 

You will be an integral part of the Aq’amama Archaeology team during this excavation and ceramic artefact study. No experience is required for this program and you will work hands-on under the guidance and stewardship of our professional archaeologists and anthropologists. Questions are welcome and curiosity is encouraged—this is what motivates us!

 

You will be taught how to work on an archaeological excavation in the field and learn all the skills needed for artefact registry while at the center. You will be treated as an equal by the staff as you assist us on our mission to protect, preserve, and promote Peru’s rich cultural heritage.

 

This program is a mix of excavation at the Machu Colca archaeological dig site and ceramic registry that is run in coordination with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture. All artefact data is recorded and the artefacts themselves will be registered on the National Registry of Cultural Material.

 

All participants will be provided with accommodations in the same building the Centro Cultural Aq’amama which is at the Óvalo Pachacutec, a prominent landmark in the city of Cusco.

 

All of the program’s activities are supervised and an English-speaking member of staff is available.​

Machu Colca Excavation Program + Weekend Itineraries

Quechua Indigenous Women

Monday | Day 1 | Orientation and Ceramic Registry Workshop

  • 9:30am Orientation and introduction with a brief tour of Cusco city center in the morning followed by a lunch provided for the group at a local restaurant.

  • After lunch, we will head back to the Centro for a Ceramic Registry Workshop led by the Aq’amama archaeologist and anthropologist. You will learn about ceramic artefacts from the Moche, Chimu, Chancay, & Inca cultures and be taught how to clean, measure, photograph and register these genuine Inca and pre-Inca ceramic pottery vessels.

  • 6pm: the day’s program ends. Dinner is on your own.

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Thursday | Day 4 | Onsite Excavation

  • 6:00-6:45am breakfast at Centro Cultural Aq’amama

  • 7am departure in private van transport for excavation site at Machu Culca.

  • 8am-lunch: The team will be introduced to the site archaeologist and staff coordinating the investigation works. After this the group will set to work on the site alongside archaeology students from Cusco.

  • Lunch break with the group at a local restaurant

  • Afternoon: Continued work at the Machu Culca

  • Transport back to the Centro

  • 6:30pm: the day’s program ends. Dinner is on your own.

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Tuesday | Day 2 | Onsite Excavation

  • 6:00-6:45am breakfast at Centro Cultural Aq’amama

  • 7am departure in private van transport for excavation site at Machu Culca

  • 8am-lunch: The team will be introduced to the site archaeologist and staff coordinating the investigation works. After this the group will set to work on the site alongside archaeology students from Cusco.

  • Lunch break with the group at a local restaurant

  • Afternoon: Continued work at the Machu Culca

  • Transport back to the Centro

  • 6:30pm: the day’s program ends. Dinner is on your own.

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Friday | Day 5 | Ceramic Registry

  • 8:00-9:00am breakfast at Centro Cultural Aq’amama

  • 9:00-2:00pm Much in line with the first day’s workshop, the team will continue with the registration of ceramic artefacts and assist the project archaeologists with the current program that is run in coordination with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.

  • 2:00pm lunch break with the group at a local restaurant

  • After lunch we will return to the Centro where the team will continue with the ceramic registry process in the afternoon.

  • 5:30pm: the day’s program ends. Dinner is on your own.

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Wednesday | Day 3 | Site Visits

  • 8:00-9:00am breakfast at Centro Cultural Aq’amama

  • 9:30 departure in private van transport to visit 3 sites in Cusco’s southern valley

    • Kañarakay – A small Inca complex at the Huacarpay Lake.

    • La Portada de Rumiqolqa – A Wari aqueduct later modified by the Incas

    • Choquepujio – A Wari complex dominated by high walls with niches

  • Lunch break with the group at a local restaurant

  • Afternoon: visit to San Jeronimo area of Cusco and Raqaraqaniyok – A recently restored complex of more than 40 structures occupied by the Incas and later by Spanish settlers; transport back to the Centro

  • 6:00pm: the day’s program ends. Dinner is on your own.

Saturday & Sunday 
Weekend Excursion
The Sacred Valley

  

In the heights of the Sacred Valley there are humble and hospitable people who maintain traditions that have survived for thousands of years. They live in community and know how to read the signs of nature. They are sensitive people who practice mysterious textile iconography, have unique flora and fauna, prepare exotic cuisine with delicate products, and share a common past linked to pre-Hispanic cultures.​

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Saturday |
Andean Community
 

A guided visit with the Quechua Andean Community, located in the heights of The Sacred Valley. Where you will  participate in their daily activities of the community, spending the morning with women and men doing traditional farming, animal breeding and incredible weaving. 

 

This evening is spent in a hotel in the vicinity. 

Includes transportation from Centro Cultural Aq’amama, lunch, hotel, guide and entrance fees.

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Sunday |Pumamarca, Ollantaytambo & Pachamanca

A charming walk in Ollantaytambo to reach the Pumamarca archeological site, a small archeological complex with narrow streets that was originally built by the Wari people, who populated this area before the Incas and who still live here today. This hike will take us through native tree forests, crystal clear creeks, high mountains, ancient water channels and beautiful Inca terraces. 

 

For lunch, visit an organic farm set on an old Inca Terrace and help prepare a traditional Pachamanca—the ancient Peruvian earthen oven cooking technique, using root vegetables and meats wrapped in local herbs and cooked underground using wood-fire heated stones. Onsite is also a tiny traditional Whiskey distillery, that  uses different Andean ingredients. Salud!

 

Includes breakfast, lunch, guide, entrance fees and transportation to Centro Cultural Aq’amama.

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Monday | Day 8 | Ceramic Registry

  • 8:00-9:00am breakfast at Centro Cultural Aq’amama

  • 9:00-12:30pm The team will continue with the registration of ceramic artefacts and assist the project archaeologists with the current program that is run in coordination with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.

  • 12:30pm lunch break with the group at a local restaurant

  • After lunch we will return to the Centro where the team will continue with the ceramic registry process in the afternoon.

  • 5:30pm: the day’s program ends. Dinner is on your own.

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Tuesday | Day 11 | Onsite Excavation

  • 6:00-6:45am breakfast at Centro Cultural Aq’amama

  • 7am departure in private van transport for excavation site at Machu Culca

  • 8am-lunch: The team will be introduced to the site archaeologist and staff coordinating the investigation works. After this the group will set to work on the site alongside archaeology students from Cusco.

  • Lunch break with the group at a local restaurant

  • Afternoon: Continued work at the Machu Culca

  • Transport back to the Centro

  • 6:30pm: the day’s program ends. Dinner is on your own.

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Tuesday | Day 9 | Onsite Excavation

  • 6:00-6:45am breakfast at Centro Cultural Aq’amama

  • 7am departure in private van transport for excavation site at Machu Culca

  • 8am-lunch: The team will be introduced to the site archaeologist and staff coordinating the investigation works. After this the group will set to work on the site alongside archaeology students from Cusco.

  • Lunch break with the group at a local restaurant

  • Afternoon: Continued work at the Machu Culca

  • Transport back to the Centro

  • 6:30pm: the day’s program ends. Dinner is on your own.

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Friday | Day 12 | Ceramic Registry

  • 8:00-9:00am breakfast at Centro Cultural Aq’amama

  • 9:00-12:30pm The team will continue with the registration of ceramic artefacts and assist the project archaeologists with the current program that is run in coordination with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.

  • 12:30pm lunch break with the group at a local restaurant where a traditional dance show is performed by local artists

  • After lunch we will return to the Centro where the project will conclude with the presentation of the certificates of completion for the project team.

  • 5:30pm the program ends and one final night of accommodations is provided

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Wednesday|Day 10 | Site Visits

  • 8:00-9:00am breakfast at Centro Cultural Aq’amama

  • 9:30 departure in private van to visit 3 sites in Saqsayhuaman Archaeological Park

    • Kusilluchayok – This scared shrine is located next to the  Inca trail.

    • Amarumarkawasi –  This site is also known as ‘The Temple of the Moon’.

    • Inkilltambo – A 40 minutes hike  to this recently restored archaeological site.

  • Lunch break with the group at a local restaurant

  • Afternoon views and visits to the terraces and platforms of archaeological site ‘Machu Choquequirao Puquio’

  • Dinner break with the group at a local restaurant

  • 6:00pm: the day’s program ends. Dinner on your own.

Week 1

Saturday & Sunday 
Weekend Excursion
Machu Picchu

  

Machu Picchu—a UNESCO World Heritage Sites—is perched on the edge of a cliff at 4,000 feet above sea level, deep in the jungle of southern Peru. Left to obscurity for four centuries and thought to be abandoned by the Incas in the 16th century, this fabled “Lost City of the Incas” is best seen on a guided tour.  

Machu Pichu

Saturday |Ollantaytambo -
Machu Picchu –
Aguas Calientes 

We’ll board the Expedition train at Ollantaytambo train station and arrive at Aguas Calientes train station at noon. This rail journey is one of the most spectacular in the world as it follows the Urubamba River through the Canyon of Vilcanota to the Lost City of the Incas. 

 

After a buffet lunch, we’ll visit the Machu Picchu Inca Citadel. The afternoon is quieter at Machu Picchu but it is the best time to visit, as the sunlight allows you to appreciate the true beauty of this breathtaking place, including Caretakers Hut, Temple of the Sun, the Royal Tomb, Three Windowed Temple, Intihuatana/Solar Clock and the quarry. When you are ready, we'll take the bus back to Aguas Calientes.

 

This evening is spent in a hotel in the vicinity. 

 Includes transportation from Centro Cultural Aq’amama, lunch, guide and entrance fees.

Blue Hummingbird

Sunday |Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo - Cusco 
 

Allow your guide to escort you as you continue exploring the area. Take an easy hike to the beautiful Mandor Waterfalls from Aguas Calientes and enjoy the local sights with marvelous orchids and hummingbirds abounding.

Includes breakfast, breakfast, box lunch, guide, entrance fees and transportation to Centro Cultural Aq’amama.

2022 Dates

Choose from 1 of 4 sessions

June 6 – 19

June 20 – July 3

July 4 – July 17

August 1 – 14

Machu Colca
$3,645/2 weeks

Clicking the above link will take you directly 
to this dig's booking page

21+

Participation is subject to availability and is at the full discretion of the dig location. Prices and dates dates subject to change. 

What to Expect:

 

This program is an exclusive partnership between Centro Cultural Aq’amama and Ancient Odysseys.

 

Excavation work: You will be an integral part of the excavation team and work hands on at the site alongside the site archaeologist and archaeology students from the university in Cusco.

While working on the site you will learn about the methodology, techniques and procedures that compose an archaeological investigation.

 

Our archaeologists will assist you throughout this process and you will learn how to identify ceramic vessels through iconography, form and the pottery techniques used hundreds of years ago.

 

Ceramic Registry: The registration process involves the photographing, measuring and  weighing of pieces whilst written records and drawings are also recorded.

What's Included in the Cost:

 

The 2022 Archaeology Program is based in Cusco, Peru and is a 2-week, program.

 

Accommodations:

14 night shared accommodations are included at the Edu’s Inn Hostel which shares the building with the Centro Cultural Aq’amama. All rooms have en suite toilet, washbasin and shower, cable tv, and wifi internet.

Included:

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off in Cusco (airport/station/terminal).

  • Private transport to and from dig site and site visits

  • 24/7 emergency contact

  • All project materials and P.P.E.

  • Access to Aq’amama records, maps, books & reports

  • Certificate & gift on completion of program

Not included:

  • International & domestic travel to and from Cusco

  • Insurance

​What to Bring:

Cusco is at an altitude of over 11,000 feet, so we recommend 2-3 days to acclimatize to reduce the chance of altitude sickness. Upon arrival, drink plenty of water, eat light but high-calorie foods and avoid strenuous exercise. You may want to pack altitude sickness pills, ibuprofen for headaches.

 

Between June and August, the temperature in Cusco at night can drop as low as 0°C and the temperature during the day can be as high as 20°C. Basically, hot in the day and cold at night.

 

During the excavation itself, it will be hot during the day and cold at night and early morning, Remember that on site you will get dirty, it is not an environment for designer clothing.

  • Long sleeves

  • Lightweight long pants

  • Sturdy boots or shoes

  • Wide brimmed hat

  • High SPF sunscreen

  • Large water bottle

  • Small backpack for site visits and excavation work.

  • Knee pads are good to have, but not essential

  • Small 1st aid kit (though one will be available).

  • Travel power adapter for Type A and C

  • Jacket or sweater for evenings

  • Light rain jacket or rain poncho

  • Casual clothing like jeans and t-shirt are fine for the work at the Centro Cultural Aq’amama