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UC Berkeley Summer Field School

The Archaeology of the Incas

July 3 to August 5th 2017

Cusco, Peru

Director: Dr. Alexei Vranich

For the application and all the information on costs, credits, financial aid, accommodations, etc, click here  .

The City of Cusco


Our House


Travel and local color

Ruins and Fieldwork


Program Description

Students in this project will learn basic archaeological field methods and 3D computer modeling programs researching in the Sachsaywhaman (pronounced saxy-waman) Archaeological Park, the largest and most monumental building complex built by the Incas. Students will also be learning of the culture and history of the Andes by living and studying in this diverse and historically important region. 

Students will be living and working at a high elevation (11,600 feet above sea level) in the colonial and Inca city of Cuzco. Sachsaywhaman is located walking distance from our home in the historic core of Cuzco.  The city of Cuzco is considered the archaeological capital of South America and offers a wide range of daytime and nighttime activities.

Accomodations (see "our house" above)

Students will live in refurbished colonial mansion in the historic core of the World Heritage city of Cuzco. Students will stay in modern apartments with private bathrooms, each with hot water. Wireless is available at all times.


Monday through Friday, meals are provided by the program in the city and in the field. These include breakfast, lunch and dinner. Restaurant and menu selection will be varied to provide the opportunity to taste a broad range of the foods of Peru. Students are responsible for their weekend meals.

Please let us know when you apply for this program if you have any special dietary needs. If you are a vegetarian, be aware that you may not have access to meals typically available in the USA. If necessary, students can purchase food at the local supermarket.


There will be field trips to important sites within Cuzco and the immediate environs.  Cuzco is a major tourist center and students may choose to explore the surrounding areas on their own time during the weekends.  The staff will help making arrangements for group and individual travel.


You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements. Please plan to arrive in Cuzco (CUZ), by July 3 (Sunday) to give yourself time to acclimate to the altitude before we begin Monday afternoon.

We recommend that you fly to Lima then directly to the airport in Cuzco. Be sure that you have enough time to make your connecting flight in Lima to Cuzco. Flights to Cuzco leave in the morning from the same airport as international flight arrivals. Do not accept any assistance from anyone claiming that the flights to Cuzco leave from a different building.

Peru is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and many airlines (US and international) fly there. Best prices are typically associated with the purchase of an international flight originating in the US and ending in Cuzco. LAN is a good airline that offers direct flights between various US gateways and Lima, and a number of US and other international carriers fly to Lima with easy connections at major hubs.  Please remember that even if your ticket show direct flight to Cuzco, all passengers must pick up their baggage in Lima and go through customs there.

Student Testimonials


For a promotional video of the field program

(when it was part of UCLA)

”I would definitely recommend the Cusco program to anyone who is interested. It's a beautiful country with a wonderful culture, and Alexei really tries to offer as many educational and cultural activities as possible.  He offers a great amount of support and guidance, and will definitely look after you if you are sick, and makes sure that you are well taken care of.  After this program, you'll return with a huge sense of accomplishment, a greater understanding of third world countries, a great group of new friends and a slew of enviable stories to tell friends and loved ones.  My trip to Peru vastly expanded my horizons and gave me a better understanding of the process and work that goes into an archaeological dig.  Do it!  It's an adventure!”

-Jessica, UCSB

”They tell you when they try to convince you to study abroad that the experience changes your life but I never bought that cliché line, until I actually got the chance to do this program. Alexei was great, and it's obvious that he knows what he's talking about and cares about his students.  The friends I met will be my friends for life, the things I learned are things I never would have had the opportunity to learn, and the memories I’ve made are permanently stamped in my mind capable of bringing a smile to my face whenever I think of them. Waking up early to dig is an acquired taste but it is rewarding as is everything else about the program. You can’t choose a better city in Peru to live in than Cusco. It’s full of history, incredibly nice and welcoming people, a large tourist population that gives you the opportunity to meet people from around the world, great food, and an awesome nightlife to unwind after a hard week at the dig site. Take the plunge and go for it! It’ll be one of the best choices you’ll ever make.”

-Colten, UCSB

”I had the time of my life in Peru. It sounds cliché, but since I left I haven't stopped talking about what a great time I had. The program not only gave us the experience of going on an archaeological dig, but took me out of my comfort zone and expanded my view of the world. We were able to experience Peru in ways that most people never dream of. We worked alongside Peruvians at a dig some days, toured around the sacred valley on weekend, and finally got to see Machu Picchu. I met friends that I have kept in touch with and can't wait to see again. Alexei is a great prof. who made sure that everything on the trip was perfect. He was able to help us plan weekend trips to Puno and the Urubamba Valley (both of which were AMAZING) so that we could see everything we had come so far for. I was nervous before I got to Cuzco about the food and accommodations, but we were in good hands with Alexei. I would recommend this trip to anyone with any type of personality- it is truly a life changing experience, and I know that because of this program I am going to have a deep connection with Peru forever.”

-Kimberly, McGill University

“The Cuzco Peru course helped change my views on Archaeology while giving me experience for future careers. Alexei also did an amazing job teaching Cuzco history to us and giving us incredible life lessons. To put it simply this experience changed my life so much that. I wish to still be in the course even now.”

-Shawn, UCLA

Health Issues

Prior your trip, we encourage you to visit your doctor for a general check up and advice. You may also  want to visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for up to date health information on Peru (

Please make sure to bring all your prescription medicine so that you have enough for the entire field season.  If you have allergies or any other medical concerns, let the director of the project know. You will be asked to bring some over the counter medications for common illness such as a cold, headaches, indigestion, dehydration or diarrhea.

For the application and all the information on costs, credits, financial aid, accommodations, etc, click here  .

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