Benjamin (Ben) Bellorado is an anthropological archaeologist who focuses on Indigenous cultures in the northern Southwest. For over 20 years, Ben has studied the material cultures of Native American peoples who lived in the Four Corners area. Ben is originally from Wyoming and received his bachelor’s degree at Fort Lewis College, his master’s degree from Northern Arizona University, and recently received his doctorate from the University of Arizona. He also has worked extensively in the Cultural Resource Management industry. Ben has studied a diversity of topics over his career ranging from maize agriculture, to ceramic analysis, to experimental archaeology, and ethnography. Ben’s recent research focuses on documenting at-risk archaeological sites in Bears Ears National Monument, using tree-ring dating to date these sites, and revisiting old museum collections of ancient clothing. His doctoral research is aimed at understanding the ways that ancestral Pueblo peoples used textiles and textile depictions in other media to express complex ideas about various aspects of social identities in the tenth through thirteenth centuries. Ben joined the incredible research team at Crow Canyon in August as the new Laboratory Manager.
Steve 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. Steve’s research interests include architecture and Southwest studies; on his days off, he enjoys mountain biking, backpacking, hiking, and spending time with family.
Kellam Throgmorton (Ph.D. Binghamton University) is the Supervisory Archaeologist for the Northern Chaco Outliers Project. He received his Ph.D. from Binghamton University in 2019. His research interests include early villages, sociopolitical organization, landscape archaeology, and architecture. Kellam’s dissertation works considered Chacoan landscapes as a form of political action, and he conducted fieldwork at two Chacoan outlier communities—Morris 40 (near Farmington, NM), and Padilla Wash (in Chaco Culture National Historical Park). He has assisted in research at numerous outliers, including Chimney Rock, Las Ventanas, and Aztec North. Kellam is excited to be working at the Haynie site and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm with students and participants.
Tim Wilcox is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University with 30 years of experience in Southwest archaeology working for organizations like the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department, Desert Archaeology Inc., and Stanford University Heritage Services. He also served as a ceramic specialist consultant for the Eiteljorg Museum of the West and the Poeh Center in New Mexico. At Stanford, Tim is in the process of completing his dissertation on proto-historic and Pueblo Revolt era pottery with a focus on group social dynamics and technology of style. He is also an accomplished replica potter (Pueblo and Diné pottery), flintknapper, weaver, and hide tanner. Tim, who is Diné and Tewa (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo), also has extensive experience with tribal consultation, community engagement, and agency partnerships.
Program 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.
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
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
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 20 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). Alternatively, you may fly into one of the following cities and rent a car: Durango, Colorado (60 miles from Cortez) or Albuquerque, New Mexico (about a 5-hour drive to Cortez).
For more information, please see the Details tab.
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 Verde 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!