Archaeology Research Program

New excavation site

Read more

In the lab

Read more

New excavation site

Read more

Processing flotation samples

Read more

The Crow Canyon campus

Read more

The Crow Canyon lodge

Read more

Archaeology Research Program

The October 1–7, 2017, session (alumni week) is sold out! To be placed on the waiting list, call 800.422.8975, ext. 451. Be among the first to excavate at the Haynie site! With two Chaco-period great houses (A.D. 1050–1140), this site is part of one of the densest concentrations of great houses north of Aztec Ruins National Monument. Excavation begins during the 2017 field season. What will you discover?

The Northern Chaco Outliers Project is a multiyear study focused on the Haynie site, an ancestral Pueblo village located on private land near Cortez. Your work will help us understand Chaco influence in the Mesa Verde region, changing human/environment relationships during the A.D. 1130–1180 drought, and the emergence and functioning of community centers through time. 

Highlights

  • Learn excavation techniquesthen dig alongside our archaeologists. 
  • Work in our archaeology lab, helping to wash, identify, and analyze ancient artifacts.
  • Explore the cliff dwellings of nearby Mesa Verde National Park on a daylong guided tour (for participants new to Crow Canyon). Alumni spend more time in the field.
  • Enjoy evening talks on current topics in Southwestern archaeology.

Daily Schedule
Breakfast 7:30–8:15 a.m.
Morning activity 8:30 a.m.–noon
Lunch noon–12:45 p.m.
Afternoon activity 1:30–about 4:30 p.m.
Dinner 5:30–6:15 p.m.
Evening program begins 6:30 p.m.

About this Program

  1. Staff
  2. Accommodations
  3. Getting Here
  4. What to Expect
  5. Details

Caitlin SommerCaitlin Sommer (M.A., Anthropology, University of Colorado) is a supervisory archaeologist at Crow Canyon. She has worked at Crow Canyon since 2010, instructing students and adults in proper field methods and techniques—from digging and mapping to “reading” stratigraphy. Her research interests include Southwest and Great Basin archaeology, with a focus on understanding connections among different groups of people through time and across space. When not doing archaeology, she enjoys mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and spending time with family.

 

Steve CopelandSteve Copeland (B.A., Anthropology, University of Colorado) has worked at Crow Canyon since 2006 as a field archaeologist. During the program season, Steve is responsible for teaching students and adults archaeological field methods, so if your program includes site excavation, he’ll show you how to dig, screen, measure, map, and document your finds. (Winter finds him in the lab, compiling and entering data from the preceding field season.) Steve’s research interests include architecture and Southwest studies; on his days off, he enjoys mountain biking, backpacking, hiking, and spending time with family.

 

Kari SchleherKari Schleher (Ph.D., Anthropology, University of New Mexico) is Crow Canyon’s laboratory manager. She teaches artifact analysis to students and adults in Crow Canyon programs. Her specialty is the analysis and interpretation of Pueblo pottery; she is particularly interested in production technology and what pottery can tell us about connections between different groups of people who lived in the past. Kari enjoys traveling, especially to learn about cultures around the world, and she has worked on archaeological projects all over the American Southwest and in Peru. In her spare time, she likes to hike and make jewelry.

 

Beca SimonBecca Simon (M.A., Anthropology, Colorado State University) has worked at Crow Canyon since 2014. She grew up in Washington, D.C., where she developed a love of history and archaeology by visiting the many museums of the Smithsonian Institution. She has worked for afterschool programs, museums, and cultural resource management companies, and she has archaeological field experience in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and southern Jordan. Her professional interests include Southwest archaeology, the protohistoric era, historic photography, public outreach, and historic preservation.

Meet all of our archaeologists and educators.

Hogan at Crow CanyonProgram tuition includes shared accommodations in comfortable, rustic Navajo-style log cabins (“hogans”), each housing up to four people in a single room. Shared, modern shower and toilet facilities are located in a separate building adjacent to the hogans. The hogans are set amid juniper and pinyon trees on our campus.

Private rooms are not available and, depending on enrollment, couples might not be housed together. Room assignments are made approximately two weeks before the program and are based on the number of people and programs in a given week. Rooming requests will be honored if possible, but special arrangements cannot be guaranteed. You must provide your own bedding and towels.

If you are joining us for back-to-back sessions, you may stay over on a Saturday night for an additional $50 per person. Saturday lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday breakfast and lunch, will be on your own.

All campus facilities except the learning centers are fully heated, and classrooms are artificially cooled. The sleeping quarters are not artificially cooled, but the temperature in this area usually drops significantly at night. All indoor facilities are smoke-free. Wildfires are a real danger in our area; if you smoke, please do so only in the designated smoking area, at the picnic table behind the lodge. Smoking by minors (under age 18) is prohibited.

If you prefer to stay in town at a motel, we will reduce the cost of your program by $180 per week, per person. Meals will be provided on campus as usual. We can provide information about local accommodations, or you may visit Mesa Verde Country for information.

Laundry facilities are not available on campus.

Meals
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served each day. On-campus meals are served cafeteria-style in the lodge; dinner and lunches include a salad bar and a vegetarian entree. Fresh fruit, lemonade, iced tea, and coffee are available on campus all day. If you are working at the site, snacks, water, and a picnic lunch (sandwiches, fresh fruit, chips, and cookies) are provided. Juice, spring water, and soda are available from the vending machine behind the lodge. Crow Canyon dining consistently receives rave reviews!

If you have special dietary needs, please contact us before your program. We are able to accommodate most special diets, but some may require you to bring supplemental foods.

Getting You and Your Gear to Crow Canyon
Location Crow Canyon is located amidst majestic mountains, mesas, and canyons about 4 miles northwest of the town of Cortez in southwestern Colorado. We are 15 miles west of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park and 40 miles northeast of the Four Corners Monument, where the states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.

Driving to Crow Canyon
Highways link Cortez to cities in all directions. We are 50 miles west of Durango, Colorado; 400 miles southwest of Denver, Colorado; 250 miles northwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico; 400 miles northeast of Phoenix, Arizona; and 350 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Traveling by Air
The Cortez Municipal Airport, located about 15 minutes from campus, is served by Boutique Airlines (via Denver and Phoenix). The Durango–La Plata County Airport, located about 80 minutes from campus, is served by United Express (via Denver) and American Airlines (via Phoenix and Dallas-Fort Worth). Crow Canyon will provide shuttle transportation to and from both airports at no extra charge to program participants. Alternatively, you may fly into one of the following cities and rent a car: Farmington, New Mexico (75 miles to Cortez); or Albuquerque, New Mexico (about a 5-hour drive to Cortez).

For more information, please see the Details tab.

Activity Level
Archaeological fieldwork requires physical exertion: hiking a short distance to reach the site, lifting buckets of dirt, kneeling on the ground for extended periods, and working at an elevation of 6200 feet. You will work at your own pace, but the experience will be more enjoyable if you are in good physical condition.

If you do not exercise regularly, you might improve your conditioning by taking consecutively longer walks at home before the program begins. If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to participate in this program, please call one of our sales and enrollment specialists at 800.422.8975, ext. 451.

Local Environment, Climate, and Weather
Crow Canyon is located in the high desert, where deep sandstone canyons dissect pinyon-, juniper-, and sage-covered plains, all against the distant backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. The campus and excavation site are located at an elevation of 6200 feet; the elevation of Mesa National Park ranges from 7000 to 8500 feet.

The Colorado sun is strong (ultraviolet exposure increases about 4 percent for every 1000 feet above sea level), and the air is generally very dry. In summer, daytime temperatures are usually in the mid-80s to low 90s, but occasionally reach triple digits. Nighttime temperatures can drop to around 50◦F. In July and August (our monsoon season), it is not uncommon to get afternoon thunderstorms.

The best precaution for anyone not accustomed to both the dry climate and the high elevation is to drink plenty of water. We recommend that program participants drink at least two quarts of water per day, every day, while here. In addition, pre-hydration—drinking plenty of water for a few days before leaving home—may help the body acclimate more quickly. Also, sunscreen is a must!

Gear List

Getting You & Your Gear to Crow Canyon

Staying in Touch

Reading List

Archaeological Ethics

Terms, Conditions, and Cancellation Policy

Safety & Medical Information

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center's programs and admission practices are open to applicants of any race, color, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, or sexual orientation.

Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California CST 2059347-50

Tuition & Reservation

Remaining 2017 sessions:

September 3–9

September 10–16

October 1–7 (Alumni Week). Sold out! Please select another week, or call 800-422-8975, ext. 451, to be placed on the waiting list.

$1,595 (member*)
$1,720 (nonmember)
*Minimum $100 level (see Membership)

Deposit: $400
Balance due: 45 days before program start date

Discounts for seniors, program alumni, and military veterans
New: "Bring a Friend" discount!

  800.422.8975, ext. 451
     M–F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mountain Time)

  programs@crowcanyon.org

  Travel Plan (required form)

Cultural Explorations

Chaco Canyon

In 2017 we're offering two travel programs that explore the Chaco world: Chaco Landscapes (three departures, one with noted Chaco scholar Steve Lekson) and The Chaco Phenomenon. Combine our Archaeology Research Program with one of these tours for an immersion in the Chaco world!

"Working relentlessly, with [Crow Canyon archaeologist] Steve Copeland, to come to within 10 cm of a pithouse floor, removing half a dozen substantial dendro samples, and revealing the complete rim of a jar that certainly is resting on that floor were unusually fine moments that occurred during the second week of my stay."
Scott, 2015

ARP Continuing Education Credits

Two continuing education units (CEUs) from Adams State University, Colorado, are available for an additional fee. Please call Crow Canyon at 800.422.8975, ext. 451, for more information.

Our Campus

View of the Crow Canyon campus and Ute Mountain

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is located on a beautiful 170-acre campus in southwest Colorado, close to Mesa Verde National Park and the town of Cortez. Read more.

Northern Chaco Outliers Project

Crow Canyon archaeology

The Northern Chaco Outliers Project is a multiyear study focused on the Haynie site, a significant ancestral Pueblo village located just northeast of Cortez. Read more.

instagram_badge_resize f facebook twitter-bird-white-on-blue LinkedIn YouTube Logo Pinterest