Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 13, 2013.


We hope to write a story of ancient Nicaragua through fieldwork at the Chiquilistagua archaeological site. Help us make history!

Thank you for your interest in our kickstarter project. With your support the Dig It! project will create a story of ancient Nicaragua. We would like to publish an ebook, with limited print editions, that tells the story and recreates the past of a diverse, interesting, and understudied people. You can be a part of this journey!

We will start with studying ancient Nicaragua from the source. What do we mean by this, you may ask? Well, let us tell you! Did you know by using ancient trash, like pottery, broken tools, jewelry, and stone carvings we can recreate the lives and values of people that are now gone? This project will take this information and use it to inform our book, so that this work will be informative, exciting, AND based in fact.

We, as archaeologists, want to make the stories of the past come to life for the public.  We want to make Nicaraguan archaeology as well known as the archaeology of the ancient Maya.  This book will be our way to create publicly available stories of the past. Let us make history!  What exactly will we do? Glad you asked!

Step one: Create public interest

Guess what? You have already helped with one of our major goals.  We want to show people the amazing archaeology from Central America.  By reading about our project you have already helped to share with people the cool and unique archaeology that can be found in lesser known areas of the world. THANKS!!!

Step two: Get out there and get that data!

We plan on using the money you donate to dig some holes.  Sound cool? Of course it does. It is underground! We want to excavate 10 archaeological excavation units across the site of Chiquilistagua.  This way we can be certain to sample a good portion of materials and see a wide range of contexts around this relatively unknown area.

Step three: Clean it and count it!

The un-glamorous part of archaeology, which is counting and cleaning, neither involves bullwhips nor handguns, but is the most fun for us.  We get to carefully uncover and quantify the past with real objects created centuries and millennia ago.

Step four: Write the story!

Who were the ancient inhabitants of Nicaragua? How did they live? What can we learn about them? Were they farmers, craftspeople or traders? All of this and more will be written in the ebook.  It will be based in fact and we hope you will love it!

Thank you for your support of this project.  You are helping us tell the story of the past and contribute to the overall understanding of antiquity.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

There are always potential risks in archaeological projects. For us, we can foresee a few potential issues and each has been addressed in the following ways:

1) The scope of this project is determined by the permissions received from the Nicaraguan government. As part of this process, the permission documents have been submitted to the head archaeologists of the Departmento de Investigaciones Antropológicas in Nicaragua and we are waiting for final approval. The project directors have met with these officials in Nicaragua and they are excited about the project.

2) The analysis we can do is limited by the amount of funds we receive. The minimum cost of the archaeological project will include money set aside specifically for analysis. Our Lab Director and Co-director, Jason S. R. Paling will ensure that material is properly analyzed and stored. With more funds we will have the ability to do more in-depth analyses. The generous funding you provide us will allow for this to happen.

3) It is vital to preserve and store cultural material we encounter for future generations. Even though this may never impede a project, it must always be on our minds. With this in mind we have prepared a permanent facility to store and conserve the materials excavated at the Chiquilistagua archaeological site until we repatriate them back to Nicaragua. As an extra precaution we have built time into our work schedule to account for the discovery of unexpected archaeological materials that require additional special care.


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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    9 backers

    For your contribution we will put you on a mailing list and keep you updated with information and news direct from Chiquilistagua.

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    19 backers

    You will receive a photo of the field crew and map of the site. We will send them directly to you.

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  • Pledge $55 or more
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    14 backers

    You will receive the above and a copy of the story you helped us create. This narrative of ancient Nicaragua will be sent directly to your email with a personalized note.

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    15 backers

    You will receive the photo, map, and a bound copy of the story AND with site report with autographs of the field crew.

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    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $250 or more
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    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    You will receive all of the above and a hard copy of an original archaeological drawing (digital or ink, depending on artifact type). The archaeological drawing will depict a spectacular artifact you funded us to excavate.

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    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $500 or more
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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    One of the directors will meet you in Washington, DC area or Boston area for lunch to chat about the project, AND you will receive the photo, the map, the story, and the site report with autographs of the field crew.

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  • Pledge $2,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    You will receive all of the above rewards, and we will provide you with accommodations and food at the Chiquilistagua archaeological site for one week during the field work. Sorry, unfortunately airfare to the site is not included in this reward.

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  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    As a major contributor to this project you will receive round-trip airfare to Nicaragua and a site-seeing tour of Managua and surrounding areas, guided by one of the project directors. This reward will also include a packet of all of the above rewards (the photo, the map, the site report, and the story autographed by the crew) and accommodations at the archaeological project facility while you are on the project for 10 days.

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Funding period

- (30 days)