Archaeology in Palau

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Sophomore of above
Location: Oceania, Palau
GPA: 2.5
Program Overview

This program has been postponed.

Archaeology in Palau is focused on learning the fundamental skills for conducting archaeological surveys and excavations at different types of sites (e.g., villages, caves, burials) coupled with local community and government outreach and interaction. This five-week program in the islands of the Palauan archipelago will include working with locals, students, and staff from Palau to excavate and analyze archaeological remains that date back to some of the earliest stages of prehistoric settlement in Micronesia ca. 3000 years ago.

Program Highlights:

  • Participate in research focused on archaeology and cultural heritage management
  • Learn the prehistory and history of a small island nation in the northwestern tropical Pacific from both a practical, hands-on approach and in the classroom, with specialists from around the world
  • Take scheduled weekend trips to hike nature trails and travel to offshore islands and remote beaches

Palau is the first nation on earth to change its immigration laws for the cause of environmental protection. Upon entry, visitors need to sign a passport pledge to act in an ecologically responsible way on the island, for the sake of Palau’s children and future generations of Palauans.

** GEO programs are under continuous review during this period of global uncertainty and limited travel. All program details outlined on this page, including program cost, are subject to change if global or location-specific conditions require modifications to program structure.

Academic Details

Archaeology in Palau is a hands-on study abroad program offered during the summer term. The program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students in all majors and is focused on the archaeology, cultural heritage, and historic preservation of islands in the Pacific.

Join this program to participate in a multifaceted program that involves archaeological survey within the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon UNESCO World Heritage Site, mapping and excavation of a burial cave site dating to between 3000 – 0 BP, lab analysis and processing of artifacts and human skeletal remains, and research geared toward the protection and preservation of the island’s cultural heritage.

We will have weekly excursions that include visiting archaeologically, culturally, and naturally significant sites. These include human modified terraces, caves and stone money quarry sites, traditional stonework villages, WWII shipwrecks and other sites dating to the Japanese administration, and the famous jellyfish lake.

You will receive 12 UO credits from three courses:

  • ANTH 388 Pacific Island Archaeology
  • ANTH 488 Archaeological Field Methods
  • ANTH 488 Laboratory Methods in Archaeology

This program is open to undergraduate and graduate students in most fields of study, though priority will be given to students in archaeology and anthropology. To be eligible, students must have by departure:

  1. An overall GPA of 2.50 or above (3.25 or above for grad students)
  2. Be in good physical condition and able to hike, with a small amount of equipment, in terrain that includes moderate elevation changes

Students from other disciplines or other universities may apply for this program and should address, in their application essays, the relevance of this field experience to their academic and professional goals. Course work or other background in archaeology and/or cultural anthropology is strongly recommended but not required.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Faculty and Staff

Dr. Scott M. Fitzpatrick, a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Associate Director of the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon, serves as Director and primary instructor for the courses, which are supplemented by lectures and field activities with other specialists.

Housing Description

All students and most staff will be staying at Palau Central Hotel in the main city center of Koror. Everything students need, including grocery stores, restaurants, banks, and the post office are easily accessible and within close walking distance. All rooms have air conditioning, cable TV (although reception may not always be ideal), a bathroom, and one to two beds that 2-3 students will share. Other amenities include a pool overlooking the beautiful Rock Islands and the Canoe House restaurant. Wireless internet is also available (though with somewhat less reliability and speed than in the US).

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Priority Deadline Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date

Travel Advisories

For current health, safety, and travel advisory information, search the US Department of State country webpage.