Privado: Archaeology in San Jose de Moro – Excavating a 1,500 Years-Old Moche Temple and Cemetery

Complementary Information


Participating students will have the opportunity to live a unique and intensive field and research experience. The Field School Program allows them to take part in the intensive excavation process at one of the most complex and important archaeological sites on the Peruvian coast. Moreover, due to the close relationship that the program members have with the town population, students are able to learn about and participate in the day-to-day activities of local inhabitants, who host them for lunch every day. Furthermore, SJM is the site of a community development program aimed at creating economic activities that support part of the local population, as well as many actions done in conjunction with local schools. During these activities, students will have the opportunity to interact directly with each other.

Field School students will be trained in the different aspects of archaeological field work, including extensive excavations at SJM. Instructors are the most experienced program members that will train students in the specific work carried out at the site. Students will also be introduced to lab work in order to learn about the next stage in the archaeological research process. They will learn to record and process the artifacts recently recovered from the field. This will lead them to acquire technical and specific skills depending on their particular interest.

By the end of the program, students will have gone through each of the stages required to carry out archaeological excavation processes in a systematic manner. Since the beginning of our excavations, students have played an active and very important role in the achievement of our goals. Many of our former students now work on their own archaeological programs in other areas of Peru thanks to the experience gained at SJMAP and some of them are currently conducting graduate studies in some of the most advanced archaeological programs in universities in the USA.


The activities in this program are oriented according three types of activities:

a. Field Work at San Jose de Moro

At the site of SJM students will participate in the excavation process of different occupational levels of both the ceremonial site and funerary contexts. Students will be able to identify, recognize, understand and applied the field techniques and strategies that archaeologists use in the excavation process. Since 2016 excavations will be concentrated on Huaca La Capilla, students will have the opportunity to learn how to excavate and record ritual architectural structures.

b. Photogrammetry and 3D Modeling

Students will be instructed in different recording techniques including photogrammetry and 3D modeling both of sites and artifacts. For the former, students will be trained in the use of drones or UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles) loaded with a specialized piloting system and cameras of different kinds. The recent use of drones and photogrammetry for archaeological fieldwork has radically transformed the ways in which archaeologists work in the field. The possibilities to “go beyond the human eye” have transformed critically archaeology. Student will be able to experience this “new age” of archaeology not only through the manipulation of sophisticated equipments but also directly participating directly in the processing of images and photos in order to obtain 3D models of sites and artifacts.

c. Lectures

In the afternoons, students will attend presentations offered by the staff members who will speak about their research and findings. Moreover, lectures will be offered by guest speakers many of which are the most important figures of the Moche archaeology.

d. Visit to archaeological sites

Every weekend students will visit the most important archaeological sites around San José de Moro. These activities will help them to expand their knowledge and comprehension about Peruvian and Moche archaeology.

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Download Syllabus

Chepén – La Libertad.

Time period:

1month/4 weeks.

Number of hours:

180 hours.


6 credits

Language of Instruction:




Luis Jaime Castillo, Ph.D. (PUCP)

Luis Armando Muro, PhD.C (Stanford University)


Elsa Tomasto, MA (PUCP)

Teaching Assistants/Staff:

Julio Saldaña (PUCP)

Karla Patroni (PUCP)

Fabrizio Serván (PUCP)

Ema Perea (UNT)

Hoover Cabanillas (UNT)