2013 Chautauqua Program - Travel Course to Oaxaca
A rug of natural dyes and fibers from the master weavers of Teotitlan del Valle
Ethnobotany and Archaeology in the Oaxaca Valley, Mexico
July 6 - 13, 2013
Instructor: Dr. Ed Barnhart
For thousands of years, from house building to medicine, the use of local plants has been central to the indigenous way of life in Oaxaca. The Olmecs, Zapotecs,
and Mixtecs all inhabited Oaxaca, each sharing their plant knowledge and passing it down to the next generation. This course will discuss the vast botanical
knowledge of the descendants of those cultures, while traveling around the Oaxaca Valley.
The course’s home base will be the picturesque colonial city of Oaxaca. Within in the city, participants will explore its vast flower markets, peruse its herbal
remedy shops, and sample its unique indigenous cuisine (including the famous Oaxacan chocolate, of course!). Visits to the cactus gardens of Santa Domingo
and the city’s ethnobotanical gardens will also be made. Moving into the valley of Oaxaca, the course will go to the various craft villages, where people of
Zapotec descent are still making pottery, textiles, and wooden carvings in the same way as their ancestors did. In Teotitlan del Valle, the participants will
witness textiles and dyes being made in the same way as they were when the Aztec empire demanded them as tribute. In San Bartolo Coyotepec, they
will meet a community who has been making the Oaxaca’s famous black pottery in the same way for almost 2000 years. Other stops in the valley will include
El Tule, the largest diameter tree in the world, and mescal factories, where participants will learn how farmers turn maguey into a powerful alcoholic drink,
once used by shamans to induce trance. A course to Oaxaca would be remiss not to include a tour of the hilltop ruins of Monte Alban. At those ruins,
and also by studying the ancient books collectively referred to as the “Mixtec Codices”, the course will analyze the evidence of how Pre-Columbian societies
were using plants in their everyday lives. As a final bonus of the week chosen for this course, the city of Oaxaca will be gearing up for their annual
Guelaguetza dance festival at the end of July. One evening during the course the group will attend one of the practice dance shows.
For people interested in:
Botany, biology, chemistry, environmental studies, archaeology, anthropology, art, history, art history, sociology, philosophy and other related social sciences fields.
While not required, participants are encouraged to have at least some knowledge of the cultures and flora of Oaxaca. Dr. Ed Barnhart can recommend readings
for those interested in learning more before the trip. The tours will involve walking through ruins and Zapotec villages in hot, arid conditions. Participants in weak
physical condition are encouraged to build strength and stamina before the trip.
About your instructor:
Dr. Ed Barnhart has worked in
$1400.00 for double lodging
$1700.00 for single room lodging
Lodging in Oaxaca - Hotel Parador San Miguel
Private ground transportation
Final group dinner at closing ceremonies
Museum entry fees
Ruins/park entry fees
Participants are responsible for arranging their own flight reservations to and from Oaxaca City. Since participants come from all over the country, recommending a single flight is impossible. As of October 2013, the average flight from the USA to Oaxaca City is running about $500-700.
Costs do not include:
Airfare to/from Oaxaca
lunches and dinners (except the last night)
tips for service providers (drivers, waiters, maid staff, etc.)
Hotels during the course:
Hotel Parador San Miguel
To secure a place in the course a deposit of $300 to Ahau Travel is required.
The balance payment will then be due 60 days before the course.
We request your deposit by check to:
3267 Bee Caves Rd
Austin, Texas 78746
Or you can pay with a credit card through Paypal.com with the button below
When it becomes available, you must also fill out the 2013 Chautauqua Program registration form and pay the $100 registration fee at:
Participants in Dr. Barnhart’s courses always ask about whether they need pre-course immunizations. Dr. Barnhart is not a medical professional and this is a question he cannot and should not answer. Each participant should consult his or her personal physician before the course.
For money in Mexico, we highly recommend an ATM card and/or a credit card. ATM's are everywhere in Mexico and available 24-hours a day. You can also use a credit card with a pin number (if you know the pin number). Travelers checks are very difficult to exchange and you could end up spending the entire day at the bank.
Please change some U.S. money in the United States into Mexican Pesos. The exchange rate as of October 2013 is 1 US Dollar = 12.8 Pesos. International airports have several places to change money.
Building J at Monte Alban
Detailed Itinerary for the 2013 Oaxaca Course
Suggested Reading List
Ahau Travel Home