American Foreign Academic Research, more commonly recognized as AFAR, is an organization dedicated to the advancement of archaeological field research, cultural site preservation, and the belief that the science can be advanced through the education and outreach of professionals and non-professionals alike. Since its inception in 2006, AFAR has pioneered full-scale international archaeological research incorporating pre-collegiate students, driven historically important site preservation initiatives, as well as developed outreach and educational programs for all ages and experiences. AFAR bridges the academic and non-academic worlds and works to educate and engage the youngest elementary students to intellectually curious senior citizens. Through education, research, and financial support, American Foreign Academic Research is actively opening the eyes of the world to the wonders of archaeology.
PRE-COLLEGIATE ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPERIENCES
AFAR’s primary focus is the next generation of scholars. An appetite for research and discovery doesn’t necessarily begin in college. To satisfy this hunger, AFAR created opportunities for pre-collegiate students to work in the field on major archaeological projects. This is accomplished through partnerships with established, reputable programs and professional archaeologists. Our students work side by side with esteemed archaeologists, enjoying firsthand the thrill of discovery while researching at a historically relevant site. Integrated into the average AFAR day are lectures and excursions to broaden the students understanding of the history and cultural treasures of the host country. While many of our program’s participants have opted to pursue archaeology as a career, all of our students receive an appreciation for our shared cultural heritage and a love for the past. Our pre-collegiate initiatives are at the forefront of the field of archaeology and they continue to drive all of our other endeavors.
In addition to archaeological fieldwork, AFAR seeks to expand and share our knowledge of ancient cultures through a public education and outreach program. Beginning in 2007, AFAR hosted the Maya at the Playa Conference. This popular conference brings together dynamic leaders in the field of Maya archaeology, our future stars of the field, and enthusiasts from around the world. Due to its popularity, we launched a sister conference in 2011 in Davidson, NC called Maya at the Lago. But be warned, our conferences are not what most are used to. When designing the conference, we eliminated the stuffy, academically monotonous content commonly found, and replaced it with interactive lectures and workshops delivered in a manner that scholars and enthusiasts can understand and benefit from. Our top scholars deliver their most recent research in a very digestible manner and blend it with a generous dosage of festivities to create an atmosphere that enriches your understanding of the world and puts a smile on your face.
Early in its history, AFAR recognized the need to preserve the artifacts and structures exposed during our excavations. Through generous grants from both organizations and individuals, AFAR contributes financial support to conserve historically relevant components of our sites. Starting in 2010, through generous donations from the Archaeological Institute of America and the Tilden Family Trust, conservations efforts have been undertaken at the Mayan site of Cahal Pech. These contributions have made a lasting impact on Cahal Pech and preserved the architecture built by its original inhabitants. Through funding and support, we have conserved 11 structures at Cahal Pech’s core site. In addition to our work in Belize, we’ve also contributed funds to preserve elements of the medieval castle of Zorita in central Spain. Through our support the church utilized by the Knights of the Order of Calatrava was stabilized and several sections rebuilt to their previous splendor. AFAR is committed to funding preservation efforts at all our sites to allow future generations to enjoy these amazing locations.
AFAR is based in Davidson, North Carolina and operates as a 501(c)3 organization.