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Archaeology work experience in Lima


Price above is guide only. Choose start date for your price.



Would you like to take part in discovering the history of Peru?

Most of Peru’s rich history is proudly on show above the ground; towering over your head in the shape of well-preserved colonial architecture or ancient Inca sites perched high on knife-edge cliffs. However, there is even more to be found under our feet and armed with a spade and a keen pair of eyes you could be the first person to see it for hundreds of years. The ceremonial sites of Huaca Huantille1 and Huaca Pucllana are two of Peru’s cultural wonders and date back to the 1st and 5th centuries. These projects are attempting to uncover and restore the sites, but lack of funding means volunteers are needed to get busy excavating, cleaning, registering and cataloguing archaeological material, restoring old tapestry/textiles and ceramics and producing material for restoration of ancient walls in order for the work to continue.

Trip Highlights:

  • An incredible opportunity for hands-on learning about Peru's rich past
  • Exploring Lima - a fascinating city with incredible food
  • Practising your Spanish and enjoying the Peruvian way of life

Fast facts

Project duration: 
Min 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks
Location of project: 
Arrival airport: 
Lima (airport code LIM)
Various activities including archaeological excavation (when running), cleaning, registering and cataloguing archaeological material, restoring very old tapestry/textiles and ceramics and producing material for restoration of ancient walls
Working hours: 
Usually Monday to Friday 8am to 1pm, (optional afternoons), all other time is free
Getting to the project: 
5 to 25 minutes walk (depending on location) or public transport can be used (budget approximately US$5 per week)
Minimum Age 20, Approval needed from project (CV/Resume form to be completed, will be sent after booking)

What's included

Shared room in homestay, single sex basis
Breakfast and dinner
Airport pickup: 
Included on arrival date - ask us for details if you're arriving early
In-country orientation
Pre-departure helpdesk, local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not included

Flights, Insurance, Visas, Return Airport transfer, Local Transport, Food (lunch not provided)


Day 1 (Friday) - Welcome to Lima (Airport code LIM)

Today you will be met at the airport and transferred to your accommodation. The friendly local family will welcome you into their home, help you settle in and even show you around! Depending on what time you arrive into Lima, you’ll have time to unpack and see some of the amazing sights.

Tonight, you’ll most likely be needing a good night’s sleep, so relax and we’ll check in with you in the morning.

If you aren’t able to arrange a flight to get you into Peru on the designated arrival day then we’d recommend you fly in a day early. We can arrange an early airport pick-up for you including one night’s accommodation for an additional fee. Please call us for more information.

Day 2 (Saturday) – Orientation time!

Good morning! Welcome along to your first day in Peru and an orientation to get you started.

The orientation will take place at your in country team’s residence and will take you through what it’s going to be like at your project, do’s and don’ts, how to stay safe and it’s your prime opportunity to ask any burning questions that you haven’t yet had answered. After the orientation you’ll have some time to relax and see the sights!

Day 3 (Sunday) – Free time

You have a free day today before starting at your project tomorrow, so make the most of it! Attend church, take a bicycle tour around Lima, browse around the shops and don’t forget to call home to let them know you’ve arrived safely!

Day 4 (Monday) – Can you dig it? Yes you can!

Well here it is! The day you’ve been waiting for! You’ll be accompanied to the project by one of our team in the morning, and introduced to the staff at the project. Take time to get to know everyone talk with the staff about recent findings and what is expected during your time here, it’s your fastest route to getting settled in and getting the most out of your time.

By the end of today you’ll have made new friends and have learnt several new things and skills to take away with you; and it’s still only your first day here!

Following days (Tuesday to Friday) – Carry on at the site

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself for the first few days; everything will fall in to place naturally over the time you are here and you’ll soon feel part of the furniture. You’ll fall very quickly in love with the place though!

Days 9 and 10 (Saturday to Sunday) – The weekend is here!

Yippee it’s the weekend! Time to get out and explore more of Lima! There’s obviously only a certain radius that you will be able to cover in two days but we recommend heading to Plaza Mayor - the center of Lima's historical area with a cathedral, palace, restaurants and lots more – just don’t forget your camera.

Miraflores is also well worth a visit - the neighbourhood that’s home to Lima’s wealthier residents and is a popular location for its beach, restaurants and clubs to dance the night away!

Make sure you also visit some of Lima’s museums as with such a rich history there is a lot to see and learn!

Following weeks

However long you are booked to stay here, the following weeks will pass by in a blur, so make the most of every day, every opportunity, and every person you meet and make lots of memories to keep with you, long after your trip has finished.

Your Last Day (Friday)

Your last day has come around already! We told you it would whizz by! We hope you’ve had the time of your life with us and wish you a safe onward journey from here, wherever you are heading.

Please note that the return airport transfer is not included but is easily arranged by taxi. A taxi to the airport costs around US$20 and will take around thirty minutes so please budget for this.


What does the project do?

Once upon a time in Peru in 1981, work started taking place to build in the city of Miraflores district of Lima. Builders began digging and discovered traces of small clay structures. Building work stopped as archaeologists were called in, and the great ceremonial centre, of Huaca Pucllana, shaped like a pyramid, was unearthed in the city centre. It is believed that the centre was constructed around the Vth century.

The adobe structure of the Huaca Huantille was built in around 800 or 900 AD by the Ischma, a pre-incan culture that occupied the Lima valley’s between 750-900 AD. When Lima`s growth bloomed the Huaca Huantille was surrounded by buildings and as time went by part of it was destroyed in 1960, then in the 1980`s makeshift shacks were built on the ruins themselves. In 2005 the way was paved for excavations and the illegal homes and families were removed and housed elsewhere. Apart from dozens of ceremonial vases, three intact mummies were found wrapped in fine cloth, while 10 other fragmented remains were found nearby.

What’s the project like?

The archaeological site of Huaca Pucllana is based in the centre of Miraflores, a district of Lima. There are always historians on the site working and new artifacts are unearthed frequently. There may be quieter periods on the site where site maintenance is carried out and excavation is continued without discovering anything but the thrill of being on an ancient historical site is second to none.

The Huaca Huantille is located in Magdelana Del Mar and has 3 archaeologists on site with a small number of additional workers.

Why does the project need volunteers?

Thehe sites will always welcome anyone with an interest in archaeology. No previous experience is necessary, but a healthy interest is vital as the work can sometimes be slow and arduous.

The government and the Ministry of Culture set targets and goals for the site and help is needed to assist them in reaching these targets.

Activities and schedule

Your help would be appreciated between 8am and 1pm Monday to Friday with weekends yours to use as you please. You will also have the option of working the afternoons 2pm to 5pm.

Typical activities will include archaeological excavation (based on time of year), cleaning, registering and cataloguing archaeological material, restoring very old tapestry/textiles and ceramics and producing material for restoration of ancient walls. You will also get involved in activities such as sieving, classifying collections, making bricks and cleaning archaeological materials.

Project resources and advice

Everything you’ll need whilst on this project will be provided but the projects suggest that you bring a 4.5 inch Marshall Town trowel and a Munsell Table to define colours.

Semana Santa (Latin America Holy week) runs from March 30th to April 8th 2012 and March 22nd to March 31st. You will mainly find disruptions to the project for a few days during these times.

A Spanish phrasebook is also worth bringing to help you to get the most out of the trip.

You will need to fill out a standardised CV/resume form before starting at your volunteer project which will be sent to you by email shortly after you book. Please make sure you complete and return it promptly to avoid any delays.


Tell me more

Your accommodation in Lima is based within home stays with a local family in Lima, the capital of Peru. They are all comfortable and well equipped with electricity, running water and hot showers – it’s your home away from home. You’ll have a shared bedroom with another volunteer. Each bedroom has two single beds with bedding and storage space for your luggage.

There is a shared family living space and we’d encourage spending time and getting to know the family and get involved in family life. Volunteers have their own bathroom to share and have running water, shower and toilet.

Breakfast and dinner are included; expect traditional Peruvian meals.

We’d recommend bringing a warm jumper during the cooler months, a padlock and lots of Spanish speaking skills to get you settled in.

You have the choice between having a nice stroll in the morning or taking the public bus to your project. Depending on which project you're based at, the bus takes approximately 20-40 minutes and will cost around US$10 each week. You’ll be accompanied on your first day and will find your way around Lima easily. Lima itself is a beautiful city and easy to navigate. There’s so much to explore and see during your stay here that you’ll struggle to see it all.

What you get

Next steps

Flights & insurance

Country information

I've done this trip. Write review >
Madeleine Green gives this project
Here is what Madeleine had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Excavating at the Huaca was incredible! During my time there I got to handle a mummy's foot, the skull and femur bone of a sacrificial victim and participate in lots of digging. I had an absolute blast and couldn't recommend this trip more! And the family I stayed with were so incredibly fantastic - they'd laugh at me every day I came home covered head to toe in dirt! They also made me 3 course Peruvian meals every day for each meal. It was incredible but i definitely had to hit the gym when I went home. Also the exploring I did on the weekends. Machu Picchu and Caral and all the amazing places I saw really made this one of my most memorable experiences!
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
1. Learn Spanish - mine was pretty minimal and I learnt quickly and everyone was pretty helpful - but if you really want to be a part of the excavation, speaking Spanish does help. 2. Bring an empty suitcase. I went saying I'd buy only a few souvenirs and bought my own weight in trinkets and awesome things. 3. DO NOT use a backpack. My first few days there while visiting the san francisco monastery, a guy i was touring with (Whilst talking to me) had his back pack slashed with a knife and camera taken and neither of us noticed. Sneaky indeed. I went straight away and bought one of those over the shoulder purses that sit on your front. Pick pocketers can be pretty easy to miss in those tourist spots. They're good at what they do. Also don't look ultra touristy with the fanny pack and sun visor... it's practically asking to be pick pocketed. Other than that I always felt very safe in my time in Peru. The program looks after you well!
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Adventure. Hermosa. Asombroso. The best travel decision I've made yet.
Eleanor Simper gives this project
Here is what Eleanor had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
the archaeological experience weekend trips away
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Good Spanish needed Stay longer in Peru than you are attending the project (to do touristy things that take longer than a weekend) - strict timetable
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
experience, useful, interesting, fun, worthwhile
Claire James gives this project
Here is what Claire had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
I was very lucky when I arrived at my work placement as the team of archaeoogists had dicovered four mummies the previous week so I therefore was able to see them being excavated which was an incredible and exciting opportunity!
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Always be willing to give it a go. Most importantly have fun and enjoy the experience.
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
An amazing project with so much more to be discovered.
Jo Marsh gives this project
Here is what Jo had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
There was nothing particularly unexpected about the experience as I have done quite a lot of this type of work before. However, I enjoyed the work very much as we were given increasingly more varied types of excavation to do.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Come with an open mind Prepared to work hard Enjoy the differences
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
To work with different people is always interesting.
Joanna Hoodes gives this project
Here is what Joanna had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
the people i met and the traveling i did while i was there
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
don't overpack give yourself time to travel after your project finishes make friends with the locals
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
one of the best traveling experiences i have ever had
Alice Gusti gives this project
Here is what Alice had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
special places, special people
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
open your eyes, your ears and your hearts
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
begining of soul retrieval
Bianca San Martin gives this project
Here is what Bianca had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
It was all a highlight. Everything from the pickup, to the help from the family for doing things on the weekends, and knowing a good places to go to in Lima, not to mention all the other lovely people I met from around the world.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Come with a near to empty backpack, you'll want to buy stuff. Make sure you give yourself a couple of weeks inbetween finishing the project and taking the plane home, you may want to volunteer for longer or go traveling with others from the project.
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Great fun, and a beautiful experience.
Jennifer Thompson gives this project
Here is what Jennifer had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Diffificult to pinpoint one thing in particular but I was always delighted to find how friendly and helpful people were. It was also a bonus to be able to get to know Miraflores on foot and feel quite safe doing so, I loved the place
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
On this project be prepared for lots of dust, back ache and sore knees (some kind of protection for them is useful - especially if you are getting on a bit). While you can get by with minimal spanish it makes it so much more enjoyable if you can talk to the people you are working with - so get to work and practise before you arrive.
Jonas Quick gives this project
Here is what Jonas had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
The trip to Parakas, Ica, Huacachina (I cant spell these names but you understand?) and Nasca. Also my hostess Armida Sala.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Dont really know.. take it slow and dont rush through the experience. Peru is a beatiful country and there are much things to be seen
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Fun, Different, Huge experience, a chance to live in a totally different culture, able to help people in one way or antoher. Personally for me I cant say that it was "a life changing experience" but thats because I have done this in three other countries and two different continents. I do belive however that for a "first timer" this truly will change your world so to speak.. in a good way
Philippa Witton gives this project
Here is what Philippa had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Seeing the mummies on the Huaca. Working with local people. Feeling very welcomed by the in country co ordinator.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Expect hard, physical work for five hours a day. Learn some Spanish. Take warm, old clothes, waterproofs are perfect to keep out the wind.
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
An interesting insight into working in archaeology and living in Lima.

We work in partnership with hundreds of established projects that are run by local communities. The information on our website comes directly from the projects and we work with them to ensure this information is as accurate as possible. However, due to the very nature of the projects themselves the exact details of what happens on a daily basis can change with little or no notice. If you have travelled with us and have any updates to this information, please let us know.