The Tuti Antiguo Archaeological Project

Steve Wernke, Director

2008 Field Season (May 12 - August 8)

Before You Go / What to Bring

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Panorama of the Village of Tuti (3850 meters above sea level), our home base in the Province of Caylloma, Department of Arequipa

About the Project

A brief overview of the questions and framework of the project can be found here. Our excavations at the site of Malata are administered as the Tuti Antiguo Archaeological Project (Proyecto Arqueológico Tuti Antiguo--PATA). This is how the project is known vis a vis the Peruvian National Institute of Culture (I.N.C.), which issues the site excavation permit, oversees excavation procedures, and is the ultimate repository of all recovered materials. The project as administered through the I.N.C. is directed by Dr. Steve Wernke (Vanderbilt University). The Peruvian Co-Director is Lic. Ericka Guerra Santander (Universidad Nacional San Agustín, and Universidad Alas Peruanas).


  • Excavations will begin Monday, May 12, and we plan to excavate through Friday, August 1. A week of lab organization will follow, for a final end date of Friday, August 8.
  • While in the field, we will be based out the village of Tuti, in the upper reaches of the Colca valley. The Colca valley is about 3.5 hours from the city of Arequipa. Arriving in the Colca, the provincial capital is Chivay, where there is a large public market, internet, phones, tons of tourism, hostels, etc. There are also hot springs outside Chivay. They are administered by the municipality of Chivay and are well-organized (think big public swimming pools with showers, lockers, changing rooms, etc, but with natual hot spring water); they are welcomed after a week of excavation!
  • Tuti is 30 minutes upvalley from Chivay via bus or taxi.
  • The Colca valley is a high altitude, semiarid setting at a subtropical latitude, so it is extremely bright ans sunny during the day with temperatures in the 60s and 70s, but then the temperature plummet to the 30s or even 20s at night (due to the altitude). It's like going from summer to winter every day. There is no central heat. Indoors, it might be 5-10 degrees warmer than outside, but basically it is chilly at night even inside, so you must bring warm clothes.
  • Work week: We will work 5 day weeks (Monday through Friday). On some fridays, we will work half days in the field, half days in the lab. Other weeks we may work in the lab only on Friday to keep things organized.
  • Daily work schedule:
    • We will meet for breakfast at 7:15. Fixings for lunch will also be on the table, so each crew member will make their own sandwiches for lunch. Bring your waterbottles to breakfast so they can be filled before heading out.
    • We leave the village via truck and taxi at 8:00, arrive at the site at about 8:30 (there is a 15-20 minute hike from our drop off point to the site), and excavate till 4:00, arriving back in Tuti at about 4:30. Upon arrival, each team organizes their collections and notes.
    • Dinner is at 6:00.
    • After dinner, we will enter data, organize notes, and organize collections in the lab. This is usually between 7:00-8:00.
  • Weekends (Saturday/Sunday) are for everyone's personal time. You can stay in the village, explore the Colca, go to the hot springs in the village of Chivay (the provincial capital, about 30 minutes by taxi/bus from Tuti), or go to Arequipa.


  • Bring documentation such as a insurance card.  Make sure you know your university's procedures for dealing with emergencies while in foreign countries.  There are decent doctors and hospitals in Arequipa, but they generally expect to be paid by you, so check your insurance requirements.
  • Bring all basic toiletries and supplies with you (i.e. prescription drugs, over-the counter medications, contact lens solutions, tampons, etc.) as brands sold in Peru are often different, and you can't always get what you want.  Bring lots of sunscreen, spf 30 or better.
  • The water in Arequipa is not should be consumed only after boiling and/or purification.  You can boil water in the houses, use bleach, iodine, or other purifier, or you can buy bottled water.  If you travel, you should expect mild bouts of stomach upset and possibly diarrhea.  Over the counter remedies - I like Pepto Bismol tablets - are adequate for most.
  • If you have any special health needs or concerns, talk with your doctor.  Please note that Dr. Wernke is a Ph.D., not an M.D.!  You are ultimately responsible for your health and taking care of your health needs.  While in Peru, you must monitor your health and make decisions about whether to see a doctor if you come down with something, etc.  Dr. Wernke cannot dispense medical advice.

Cat N' Bebe

Catherine Domanska arriving at the site in the morning (8 a.m. sharp!) with our mascot, Bebé. Note Cat's fleece, gloves, workpants, and hat.

Clothing and sleeping bag

  • General guidelines: think layers.  Temperatures in the Colca are in the 60s/70s during the day, and extremely sunny (high altitude sun=major sunburn potential) but drop to around freezing every night.  So you must be prepared for the cold.  In Arequipa, it gets into the 70s during the day, sunny, and cold at night, but not as cold as the Colca (lower elevation)—about 40-50 at night.  Even in Lima on the coast, where it’s foggy this time of year, it is in the 50s-60s day and night.  Like spring weather.  This means you’ll need to pack the following:
  • Long underwear (like polypropylene, or Capilene by Patagonia, something like that).
  • Warm socks
  • Gloves and hats: a brimmed hat or baseball cap (brimmed is better since it shades your ears, which can get crispy in the sun).  Also a warm winter hat and pair of gloves (fleece or wool is okay) for at night.
  • Fleece or down—any fleece or down sweater, jacket etc.  The more the better.
  • A waterproof breathable or water repellent/wind repellent shell, if you have one.  Sometimes it can rain during the day.  And it often gets very windy!  At night, this can be your outer layer.
  • A 20 degree rated sleeping bag (or colder).  Bring your own mummy bag.  Synthetic fill bags are inexpensive, down bags are lighter, more compact, but pricier.
  • Hiking boots: a must.  Leather is best, since it repels cactus spines.
  • Crocs, camp sandals, or something similar: something packable you can slip your feet into at night if you have to get up, and that you can use at the hot springs in Chivay.  Open toe (as opposed to flip flops) are best, since you can wear them with socks.
  • Swimwear for the hotsrpings in Chivay.
  • Work clothes: stuff that can get completely dirty and trashed while excavating.  Loose fitting!  You will be excavating kneeling, bent over, etc.  Long sleeves are a must to keep the sun away (it is extremely strong).  Bring probably two work outfits.
  • Work gloves (something that fits well and isn’t going to interfere with writing.  You can get good ones at Home Depot, etc.
  • City wear: whatever you normally would wear for every day.  In Arequipa, it’s cool at night (in the 40s/50s), so bring a jacket (a fleece jacket or similar is usually good for that).
  • A towel or two. Packtowels (available at work if you are tight on space. You can buy towels in Peru if you don't want to pack them down...
  • Bring enough clothes so that you can go one week without washing any clothes.
  •  At least one, but preferably two 1-liter water bottles (EG Nalgene bottles). These are for carrying your drinking water to the site.
  • Daypack to carry your water, dig kit, and other stuff up to the site.
  • A money belt.  Either one that goes around the waist, neck, or under the shoulder. This is the safest way to carry your money, plane ticket, credit card (Visa since MasterCard is not widely accepted), ATM card, and passport. Carrying money in your backpack or pockets is an invitation to theft. There are people in Peru who make their living picking pockets and slashing open backpacks.
  • The usual toiletries. Soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, etc. can be purchased in Peru, of course, but its more convenient to bring enough for the month. If you forget something, you can buy these items in Huanchaco. 
  • Sunglasses are a must.

PATA dinner

Our nightly dinner in Tuti. It gets dark at about 6:30 pm. When the sun goes down, it gets cold at this altitude.

Other things to bring

  • A Peru Travel book such as Rough Guide or Let’s Go Peru.  Highly recommended.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Flashlight or headlamp, for when the power goes out and walking in the streets in Tuti at night.  Highly recommended
  • Books for free time.
  • Music. You’ll thank yourself for this.  The lab will have MP3s; the restaurant at the hotel (where we eat) also has a CD player.
  • Peruvian electric current is 220 volts, not the US 110.  You'll need to buy a transformer (available at Radio Shack) to run many electrical gadgets you bring down (look on the plug, if it says 110/220 or 110-240 v, you can plug it in without a converter, if it just says 110-120, you must use a converter).  Batteries are readily available in Peru.
  • Laptop if you have one
  • Digital camera
  • It’s best NOT to bring expensive jewelry to Peru, because of the possibility of theft. If you do bring jewelry or other valuables, it is best to carry them with you onto the plane.
  • If you wear glasses, you may want to bring a spare pair with you.  Glasses are very cheap in Peru (around 30 bucks for frames and lenses) so you might want to bring your prescription down and get a spare pair made in Arequipa.
  • I recommend carrying a copy of your vaccination records. Ideally, your vaccinations should be recorded in an International Health Certificate, which should be available at a doctor’s office or a public health office. You can request one when you receive your immunizations.
  • You also may want to make a list of items in your luggage in case your luggage is lost by the airlines.

PATA lab

Dr. Tiffiny Tung in the PATA lab, Tuti.

About Money

  • Your ATM card should work in Peru.  If at all possible, bring a backup ATM card, or one from another account, and keep it separately, in case you lose your primary one.  Your ATM card is your lifeline, so take care of it.  To make sure you ATM card will work in Peru, just check that it has the “Plus” network logo on the back, or check with your bank to see that their network includes Peru.  Bank ATMs are all over Lima and Arequipa, but are not in the Colca, so you’ll need to bring whatever small amount of cash you’ll need in the field before leaving the city.  The banks in Peru that we use most are Banco de Credito and Interbank.  Scotiabank is also fine to use.
  • You should bring enough extra money for meals on Sundays, your personal expenses (see below), and airport departure taxes. Buying your weekend meals at a restaurant can cost from $6 to $16 dollars a day. Personal expenses include such things as soft drinks, beer, laundry, city buses, taxis, and souvenirs. Departure taxes cost ~$10 at the Arequipa airport and $30 (approx, it may have gone up) at the Lima airport.
  • Changing money: private currency changers provide better exchange rates than banks.  It is recommended you use them for that reason, but try to stick with the large “casa de cambio” places, and avoid money changers on the street (you’ll see them waving their calculators on street corners).  Many of them are fine, but sometimes you can get a counterfit slipped to you.  At least it is easier for that to happen on the street.  In any case, you should check your bills to make sure they are not counterfit before leaving the money exchange.  Check the watermark, the security tape (inside the bill-hold it to the light), and the tiny print near the portraits on the bills (make sure it’s legible).  Pair up with someone who’s changed money to learn how to do this the first couple times.
    • The exchange rate in the Lima airport is terrible.  Try to pay your taxi driver in dollars (almost all taxi drivers who work the airport will accept USD).
  • Traveler’s checks are not really recommended, since you will get a poor exchange rate it is sometimes difficult to change them, and ATM’s are common.
  • You should carry your travelers check numbers and the receipt separately from the checks in case your checks are stolen.  Also, leave a copy of the receipt and the check numbers at home with someone whom you can contact if you lose your copy of the check numbers in Peru.
  • Credit cards are accepted at many hotels, restaurants, and gifts shops in Peru. Visa is much more widely accepted than MasterCard.  You also can use a credit card to get a cash advance at banks. They pay the cash advance in Soles (the Peruvian currency), not in dollars. I always take a credit card to Peru for emergencies. I keep my account number and customer service phone number separate from the card in case it is lost or stolen, and I need to cancel it.
  • I also carry some money in cash, generally in small bills (5s, 10s and 20s) for after banking hours. US dollars are easy to cash anytime, anywhere. Bring only nice new bills with no tears. Moneychangers will refuse old and ripped bills.  You should take  enough money in cash for the first few days in Huanchaco.


The Main Square of Old Lima. From on Flickr

Notes on Lima

  • In Lima, a recommended place to stay is the Hostal El Patio, Diez Canseco 341- A&B, Miraflores.  There is no sign but it is on Diez Canseco between Alcanflores and La Paz, near the Hotel Cesar.  If you plan to go there, make reservations in advance by calling 011-51-1-444-2107, or fax 444-1663 (english speaking owner, Señora Olga Samanez - tell her you work with me).  It is a bit pricey, but nice, approximately $30 U.S. per night, cash only.  If you ask them to do so, they will have someone pick you up at the airport (who will wait outside the customs exit with a sign with your name on it) for about $15   U.S.  Otherwise, use only official taxis that provide receipts for travel from airport (approximately 25-30 Peruvian soles, equivalent to about 12-15 dollars).  Ask for "Taxis oficiales."
  • Another decent hostal in Miraflores, cheaper and in a good area, is the Hostal Schell.  It’s in the guidebooks. 
  • There are many others in the Miraflores area, which is recommended.  Try to get a place near the Parque Kennedy/Larco Mar area.  Larco Mar is a big mall on the coast at the end of Avenida Larco.
  • If you have time in Lima, don't miss the Museo de la Nacion and the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Arqueologica e Historia.  There are many other sights in Lima such as the Pachacamac site, Franciscan Cathedral with catacombs, etc.
  • Lima is a big city, with big city crime, pickpocketing, robbery, scam artists, and some terrorism, so if you spend time there be as alert as you would be in L.A., N.Y., Detroit, etc.                      


The City of Arequipa, with Volcán Misti in the Background

Notes on Arequipa

  • The last point also applies to Arequipa.  It is a city of about a 1.5 million, with all that entails in terms of petty crime potential.  But that is a negative way to start a descriptin of Arequipa! It is a great place: beautiful landscape, extremely friendly people, sunny all the time. They call it the city of eternal spring.
  • The downtown area is a very pleasant, tourist-oriented area of mostly colonial buildings, restaurants, and a functioning downtown business district.  Another area of town increasingly popular is the Cayma area, where there is a large department store (Saga Falabella) and Cineplex.


Nico Tripcevich working on the GIS in the Apartment in Arequipa


  • There are internet cafes all over Lima and Arequipa.  This costs about 30 cents per 1/2 hour.  There is limited internet access in Tuti through the municipality.  Last summer it was intermittent and there can be lines for access.  The connection in Tuti is very slow—email only! 


  • There are two public phones in Tuti.  The conection is via microwave or satellite, so there is a bit of a lag time in the conversation.  Calls can be made using Telefonica phone cards, which you can buy on the street in Chivay, Arequipa, Lima.
  • There is no cell coverage in Tuti, but there is in much of the rest of the Colca valley, and in the city, of course.
  • There are also call centers called “locutorios” where you can make cheap calls to the U.S. 
  • Cell phones: your U.S. based cell phone probably won’t work in Peru.  Contact your provider if you think it might.  Roaming charges are likely to be high.  Telefonica (the Spanish-owned phone company that is the main phone service provider) also sells cell phones for about $40.  Call time credit is through cards of varying amounts you can purchase on the street.  Incoming calls are free of charge.  Only those you dial out are charged.


Taking Elevations in the Chapel

Personal Expenses

  • This is a difficult question because everyone has different spending habits.  Spending falls into the following categories:
  • Meals on Saturday and Sunday.  You will get three meals a day, Monday through Friday, but you are on your own for Saturday and Sunday.  It's possible to get by on 5 or 6 bucks a day, if you eat the “menu” (daily special) at a neighborhood restaurant (these are actually very good usually, and a good way to get to know down-home Peruvian cuisine).  A menu can be as little as 2.50 soles (less than a buck).  A quarter of a roast chicken with fries costs about $3.00 in Arequipa.  A fancier meal is about 5 bucks, and a huge steak or seafood dinner will run you about 10 bucks.
  • Laundry.  There are good laundry services in Arequipa.  They charge by the kilo.  About 5 to 15 bucks a week should cover you unless you go through a lot of cloths.  In Tuti, you can wash your own by hand or contract a Señora to wash your clothes (we are much appreciated as a source of income for local families).
  • Snacks, soft drinks, beer, etc.  This varies a great deal from person to person.  A cold coke at a restaurant costs about 40 cents, a 20-oz beer about a buck.  Bars and clubs charge about the same.  At grocery stores (bodegas) you pay somewhat less.  Snacks are cheap.  We supply all your drinking water.
  • Internet.  This costs about 30 cents per 1/2 hour.
  • Transportation to and from Arequipa.  The bus to the Colca costs about 12 soles (~$4) each way.
  • Gifts and Souvenirs.  Impossible to say.  Crafts such as sweaters, jewelry, and pottery are cheap.  There are plenty of opportunities to shop in Chivay and Arequipa.  For a hundred bucks you can get a lot. 
  • Other costs.  Remember you will have to pay $30 for airport tax when you leave Lima for the US.  If you are staying over in Lima, a cab from the airport will cost 10 bucks.  A night at a cheap hostal in a good part of Lima will cost around at least $25-$40 for single.  An American movie dvd, with Spanish subtitles, costs about 2 or 3 bucks in Arequipa.  


The project is funded by a Senior Research Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Vanderbilt University Center for the Americas, and the College of Arts and Sciences at Vanderbilt University. Portions of this page have been adapted from the Moche-UNC Field School website, by Professor Brian Billman.