UTPA students work at archaeological dig in Peru
Posted: 09/18/1998
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Within the dry rocky desert of the Peruvian Casma Valley, Abigail Segovia, 24, discovered her dream of becoming an archaeologist.

With a small pick ax in one hand and a short shovel in the other, Segovia, along with three other students from The University of Texas-Pan American, sifted through more than 4,000 years of human history at an archaeological excavation located approximately five hours north of the city of Lima, Peru.

Abigail Segovia, 24, a UTPA senior is sifting, identifying and labeling thousands of pieces of artifacts discovered in the dig.
I must have moved about a ton of dirt," said Segovia, a UTPA senior from Edinburg. "From sun up to sun down, we were digging in the trenches. It was back breaking, but it was also a lot of fun." Segovia was part of a 10-week archaeological dig supervised by Drs. Thomas and Sheila Pozorski, archaeologists in the Department of Psychology and Anthropology at UTPA.

The other three members of the team were Marina Garza, a UTPA senior from Edinburg, Tania Lopez, a UTPA senior from Olmito, and Okie Reyes, a UTPA junior from Weslaco.

"It's such good experience for the students," Shelia said. "On a trip like this one, the students can really determine whether or not they really want to be archaeologists."

An Archaelogical team composed of UTPA students and Peruvian workers pose for a celebration photo after completing two months of excavation at the site of a 4,000-year-old civilization.
The UTPA group began its trek to the South American country in the first week of June, studying a Peruvian civilization that dates back to 1500 B.C., Thomas said.

"It was really cool," Segovia said "I mean it wasn't anything like the Indiana Jones movie, but it was the real thing."

 A typical day for the UTPA team began at 5:30 a.m., at which time the students were picked up in the town square and driven to the excavation site.

"The first week was so hard," Segovia said, cringing as she reminisced about the early mornings. "We were so tired at the end of the day that sometimes we didn't even bother to eat, but just went right to sleep. And because we were so tired, it made it that much harder getting up so early in the morning."

She said she had little choice about getting up early. "We had to get up, if we weren't up and ready to go by the time the jeep was in the plaza, they would leave us behind although there were a few times I wouldn't have minded being left behind so early in the morning."

Six days out of the week were spent digging, identifying and labeling artifacts for future study.

"We mainly worked on excavating some ancient walls that were in the area," Segovia said. "We found out that because the people of that time lived so close to the ocean, they used a lot of sea shells for jewelry, tools and such."

The UTPA Archaelogical team taking a break after several hours of digging, sifting, and labeling artifacts discovered in the site which dates back 4,000 years.
Although much of the students' time was dedicated to work, a few days were spent taking in the sites of the Amazon jungle.

"I got to check out the Amazon River and fished for and ate piranhas, Segovia said. "I even got a chance to hold two boa constrictors our guides had while exploring the Amazon jungle. It was an adventure of a lifetime." Segovia said at the present time she couldn't possibly see herself doing anything else but archaeology.

"I didn't really know for sure if I really wanted to do this for a living, but after this trip, I'm certain now I couldn't do anything else," she noted.

The Pozorskis have been making their yearly pilgrimage to the site since the early 1970s after the discovery of the three mounds approximately the size of 15 football fields.

"I think we will be doing this for as long as we can go," Tom said. "There's a lot of work to be done, and something new every year."

For more information, contact the Pozorskis at 956/381-3551.