Thursday, May 31, 2012

I have been in Peru for just over two weeks now. Two of our TA's and one more student joined us this past weekend. We are now all in the Field house. It is the same house from last week. It is nice now with just the 6 of us in the house. It is going to be hectic once everyone is here though. I am enjoying the quite while I can.
      Last weekend we got to go to a Horse show. It was an interesting experience. The horses walk in a unique way. It looked kind of like dancing. The pick their hooves up really high. The riders also dressed up in tradition peruvian clothes and rode these fancy saddles. We got served pisco while watching and then had lunch there.
     Monday we started to excavate at a site called Colorade Magote. Over the summer we are going to be at a number of different sites. This one is the furthest away from Moquegua. There has been a lot more rain this year than normally. I was surprised at how green every thing is. This also means there are a lot more catus's which have a habit of attaching them selves to everything. It has been nice to be excavating again but will take a couple of more days to get used to the schedule again.
      I started my lab work this week too. I wrote up the standard forms I am going to be using and got to start pulling out the bones I am going to be looking at. Right now I am feeling overwhelmed with the amount of material there is for me to look at. I predict some late nights in the lab this summer. I am sure by the time I go home I will know a lot more about faunal analysis than when I left.  

here are some more pictures:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Week One

Written the night of the 19th
I arrived in Peru May 15th after a very long day of traveling. After realizing that I was not on the flight with Megan, the student who I was supposed to be traveling, to us almost missing flights, Megan and I made it to Arequipa.

I was glad to have a day to spend in Arequipa. Though some broken Spanish we were able to get a map of the city from the lady who worked at the Hotel and she wrote on it where was safe for us to be. Arequipa gets a lot more tourists than Moquegua so it was nice to get to go in to all of the touristy shops. Because of this the people also seemed to speak more English which made the day a little easier on the two of us. Arequipa is right near some really pretty snow capped mountains and a Volcano. The city has a number of guide services which take people rock climbing, rafting, kayaking, trekking, mountain biking etc. It would have been great to of had the time to get to do this. If I ever get a chance to come to Peru on a personal trip I would love to go back to Arequipa and look into this.

The next day our professor and the other people in our group came by in a taxi and picked us up. We stopped in a grocery store briefly and then were on our way to Moquegua. The ride to Moquegua is about four hours. There were 6 of us in the van with all of our luggage. It made for a bit of an interesting ride. We made it to Moquegua around dinner time and stopped at Margaritas, our favorite rotisserie chicken place in town.

I am now staying at my professors house until a house is found for us and more people arrive. Her house is really nice. The views are spectacular. They have an apple orchard, grapefruit and fig plants and their neighbor and friend has two ponies on the property. One of the ponies is pregnant so hopefully we will get to see the baby this summer. We have been working on getting everything organized so that we can start to dig soon. I have also been in the lab analyzing ceramics, which is not my favorite thing to be doing. However on Monday I am going to beginning working with the faunal remains for my project. I am excited to get started.
Today we had lunch at the house of a man who lives in town and is from Ireland. He is friends with our professor. He knows the archaeologists in town since he is one of the few people who live here whose first language is English. He served pasta, which was really yummy, and mushroom soup. I also got to meet some of the other students working with another professor who is here. I have already gotten a lot of practice with my Spanish. I can see it really improving over this summer. I hope to walk into Spanish 203 and blow the socks off of my professor.

I am looking forward to the other students arriving and moving down into the city. I will then be on a more regular schedule and get to get a lot of work done. I will keep you updated on how my lab work is going and how excavating is once we get started. I hope that everyone's summer has gotten off to a good start.  
 This is the view from the house I am currently staying at 

This is of the main plaza in Arequipa 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Going Back

          In a little more than 2 weeks I am headed back to Peru for the summer. I knew about 2 weeks after returning last summer that I wanted to go back again. Last year was a great experience for me and really helped me to make up my mind that archaeology is in fact what I want to be doing with my education.

          This summer is going to be a lot different than last year. I am still going to be staying in the same city, Moquegua, and working with the same professors but this time I am going for the whole summer. I fly out May 14th and Leave Peru August 7th. The first half I will be working in the field at a couple of different sites to get some more excavating experience. The second half I am going to be working in the Lab at Museo Contisuyo in Moquegua analyzing faunal remains from Tiwanaku sites. Zooarchaeology being what I want to focus on after undergrad, I am excited to have this opportunity. I am also funded this summer by a couple of different sources. I am going to be working on the research portion of what will become my Undergraduate Honors Thesis Project which I hope to present at a conference as well as submit for publishing during the spring of my senior year. Since last year I have taken 2 semesters of Spanish. In the grand scheme of things I know that 2 semesters is not a lot of experience at all but I am hoping that I will feel more comfortable practicing Spanish this summer and return speaking more Spanish then when I left.

          The 2nd of May marks my last day of finals. Until then I am in crunch mode. I have one paper and one exam left. After that I have a couple of days to relax, say goodbye to everyone and move out of my apartment. Then I head home for a week to see my family, minus my currently in Europe sister. I am excited for the adventures and experiences that lie in front of me. My goal and hope is to keep this blog updated more regularly this time around to keep everyone back at home updated on how my summer is going. My address will be the same this summer:
Jennifer Grenier
c/o Proyecto Cerro Mejia
Museo Contisuyo
Jr. Tacna 294
Moquegua, Peru
(2 pound weight limit please or I will be charged a duty tax) I am also, as always, acessable though email

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back Home

I arrived back home this Monday after 26 hours of traveling. Fortunately I slept for most of that time so it was not that bad. My time in Peru was a bit of a whirlwind. I was very busy and only got a limited amount of time to myself. Which made it difficult to have time to update this blog very much. I also learned a lot. I think the most important thing I got out of the whole experience was getting to talk to current graduate students about graduate school. Before this summer I was not even really considering it and now I am looking up which GRE prep book I want to start reading. I also changed my schedule for this next semester. I am now taking Spanish and a higher level archaeology class, Zooarchaeology.

Back to Peru for a little bit. I left off the week before we went to Ilo. Ilo is a city on the coast of Peru which has a number of archaeological sites outside of it. We visited a couple of the sites and then we stopped near the water and got to take photos and collect sea shells. After we ate lunch at a seafood restaurant. The rest of the group all had ceviche which is fresh raw seafood marinated in citrus juices, usually lemon. I do not enjoy seafood so I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We then got some time to see the downtown area of Ilo.

The week after Ilo we spent our time in the field working on our excavating skills. Near the end of the week we worked on drawing profiles. Which involves drawing the strata changes on the walls of an excavated unit once excavation is complete. By friday I was assigned to three units which I would observe the excavation of and then write my final papers using the information I learned from these 3 units.

The fourth weekend we visited a bodega in Moquegua called El Moche. Bodegas are where pisco, a Peruvian alcohol, is made. We got to try all types of pisco they sold. The Bodega also had a number of animals we got to see. They had a couple of peacocks, a little of puppies and some really cute baby ducks.

The last week in the field we finished up our final projects and helped our TA's finish up some of the excavating and drawing that needed to be done. We got to take Friday off to finish writing our papers. Saturday a couple of us took a taxi up to a Nunnery to visit a shop they have where they sell chocolates and honey. We ended up showing up in the middle of a Nun taking her vows. Which we got to watch the tail end of. After the Nunnery I head back to the house and finished packing up my things and the we all head up to our professors house for our despedida or goodbye party. The next morning we all got on a bus at 10am headed for Arequipa for our flights to Lima and then back to the United States.

Peru Summer 2011
Here is a link to the photos I took while in Peru. I wish I had taken more.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Week 2

(Written July 7th)

I have officaly ran out of peanut butter. I am really regretting bring the extra shoes instead of peanut butter. I found one store that sells it here but it is about 6 US dollars for half a jar. I got to start digging this week. We spent last week learning how to screen soil removed from units and observing experieced excavators.

On Saturday we had a big 4th of July party at our professors house here in Moquegua. Her house is really nice and has some great views of the city. Another field school from the area was there. The food at party was awesome. There was chicken, potato salad, and some really good sauage I couldn´t get enough of.

Sunday we had a lab about botanical remains found in an archaeological context. The concept and significance of it all was interesting but the process of analyzing involves staring at super small soil grains looking for what might be plant

Monday I went out to dinner with a friend. We got, what was explained to me as, cow heart kabobs. I was a little weirded out but it ended up being some of the best meat I have ever had. After we got some pisco sours, which is a drink specific to Peru.

Tomorrow I am going to finish up excavating the 1 by 1 meter square I started Monday. So far digging has been the most interesting part. This weekend we are going to Ilo, which is near the coast.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Week one in Peru

My first week in Peru is over. I got to Moquegua last Saturday. My flights all went well and I didn´t have any delays or complications on my way here. The first day here we were given the day to get adjusted and to rest. The house I am living in has 12 girls staying in it. The guys have a different house not to far away. Our house also where we do some of our field work and all eat breakfast so it can get a little hectic.On Sunday we got a tour of the museum and a short lecture about Peru. The museum is not very big but has some interesting parts to it.

Moquegua is unlike any city I have been to before. There are a lot of taxis which all drive pretty fast. There are only a couple of traffic lights so cars honk when they come up to intersections so people know thery are coming. Pedestrains definately do not have the right of way. There is a big market in the city where we get our food. It has a bunch of small little booths or shops all selling different things. From food, shoes, clothing to electronics. Excpet the people in the program with me very few people speak any english so I am picking up a little bit of Spanish. Overall the city is very loud and hectic but has its own charm to it.

Monday through Friday we spend the mornings in the field on top of Cerra Mejia. The hike up the mounatain is not all that hard but the altitude makes it a bit difficult. The view from the top is spectacular. I sometimes forget I am in the middle of the Andes. This week in the field we laided out 3 by 3 meters squares and drew them. Which sounds like it would be easy but was very frustrating and tedious. After field work we we head back to the house for Lab time. So far in lab we have been sorting and labeling bags of items our TA´s found in the field. Saturday we had a lecture in the museum about ceramics. After we got to practice analyzing and drawing ceramics. On Sundays we have optional outings. This weekend I have been battle a bit of a nasty stomach bug so I decided that it would be better for me to take the day and rest. Hopefully I will feel better by tomorrow so I wont miss field time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Leaving Tomorrow

I am finally all packed. I am about half a pound away from the 50 pound limit for my checked bag. Some how I made this:

Turn into this:

My first flight leaves Dulles at 11 25 am. I fly to Miami and then to Lima. From Lima I get on another plane to Arequipa. I will be arriving in Arequipa around 6am on Saturday. I am a little nervous about all of the flying, but I am sure once I get there I will be fine.