About the Ometepe Archaeological Project
The Ometepe Archaeological Project is a long term volunteer archaeological field survey of the Maderas half of the Nicaraguan island of Ometepe, the largest island on Lake Nicaragua. In nine field seasons an area of approximately 15 square kilometers has been intensively surveyed. Within that area (along the northern slopes of the Maderas volcano) the project has recorded and mapped 110 archaeological sites. Approximately 2000 boulders with petroglyphs or other cultural modifications have been photographed, drawn, and described as part of the survey.
Lake Nicaragua, with a surface area of 8,264 sq. km, is the largest inland body of water in Central America. Ometepe Island, the largest island in the lake, is comprised of two beautiful volcanoes and a narrow corridor of land between them. Volcanic activity, through the deposition of volcanic ash, has made the soil of the plains extremely fertile. The island has probably been inhabited since the Dinarte phase (ca. 2000-500 B. C.), although the evidence for the oldest phase on the island is extremely limited. (Information from Baker, Suzanne M.
2010 The Rock Art of Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. BAR International Series 2084. Paris Monographs in American Archaeology 25. Archaeopress, Oxford.)
Culturelink works with and obtains its permits from the Department of Archaeological Research of the National Museum of Nicaragua. Due to difficult economic conditions, such government agencies are severely underfunded. Volunteer programs like this one provide the means to do scientific research that wouldn't otherwise be possible.
How it Works
Volunteer fees fund the volunteer’s room, board, and in-country transportation. It also provides the per diem expenses for a Nicaraguan archaeologist. In addition, in 2011, we hope to fund Nicaraguan university students to work with us and receive training in rock art recording. Some money is also set aside for costs incurred in producing a report and translations. By the way, none of the U.S. staff of the project are paid a salary.
Interested? Look into our current fieldwork opportunity.