Crow Canyon

College Field School

REU Site: Crow Canyon Archaeological Center College Field School For Undergraduates

May 17 – July 10, 2021

This project is funded in part by the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences directorate. It has broader scientific and societal impacts in addition to integrating undergraduate research and education. This REU Sites award to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center supports authentic archaeological research for 10 undergraduate students from underserved populations over the course of seven weeks spanning three years (30 total students).

Students actively engage in research alongside professional mentors within the framework of a long-term research project, the Northern Chaco Outliers Project. Students receive extensive preparation in STEM-based learning objectives that are necessary for future success within the discipline. This program provides students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to secure future employment within archaeology and to pursue advanced degrees, emerging as the next generation of professionals, Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, educators, and leaders within the sciences. Inferences generated about past human behavior are utilized to create a better understanding of the principles that govern culture change worldwide and to address issues relevant to today’s societies, providing critical information to guide future policy making.

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center initiated the Northern Chaco Outliers Project in 2017 with the goals of addressing important regional questions surrounding the expansion of ancestral Pueblo Chaco-style communities in the Mesa Verde region, as well as broader anthropological research questions concerning human-environment interactions, the development of inequality/equality, the political role of community centers, and identity formation/dissolution. Although this Site has a regional focus, its results have national and global impacts. By engaging in scientific research focused on broader anthropological questions, REU students advance and share knowledge of the human past and contribute to cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary research surrounding human actions in the past, present, and future.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

About this Program

  1. Overview
  2. Staff
  3. Accommodations
  4. Getting Here
  5. Details

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center (CCAC) was awarded support by the National Science Foundation for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site focusing on the Northern Chaco Outliers Project (NCOP) in the U.S. Southwest. This seven-week experiential program will bring together undergraduate students, including American Indian and other underrepresented populations, and professional archaeologists for the purpose of providing authentic and professional opportunities for student engagement in collaborative, on-going research. Students will receive extensive preparation in: 1) designing and conducting empirically-derived research; 2) archaeological theory; 3) excavation and survey methodology and laboratory analyses; and 4) archaeological law and ethics. Our goal is to provide students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to join the work force and to pursue advanced degrees, emerging as the next generation of professionals, educators, and leaders within the sciences. Under the direction of Dr. Susan C. Ryan, the Center’s Chief Mission Officer, undergraduate students may, but are not required to, enroll for 6 credit hours in Anthropology 379, through Adams State University in Colorado that can be transferred to their home institution. This field school is certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists.

COVID-19 Precautions

Crow Canyon staff continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic with everyone’s safety in mind. We will offer this in-person program with additional safety measures in place and will follow Crow Canyon’s COVID-19 safety protocols throughout the program. This program may be cancelled if the environment is unsafe for students and staff.


Qualifying students will receive a stipend to support their attendance through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program (NSF REU 1851763).

Benjamin (Ben) BelloradoBenjamin (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.

Susan RyanChief Mission Officer Susan C. Ryan (Ph.D., University of Arizona) has worked at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center since 1998. She codirected the Shields Pueblo excavation project from 1998 to 2000 and was project director of the Albert Porter Pueblo excavation project from 2001 to 2004. As Director of archaeology, Susan aligns the Center’s mission with ongoing field, laboratory, and online report publication activities. Her research interests include the nature and extent of Chacoan influence in the northern Southwest, the A.D. 1130–1180 drought, and the built environment.

Susan RyanKellam 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.

Grant CoffeyCrow Canyon Database Manager Grant Coffey (M.A., Northern Arizona University) directed Phase II of the Goodman Point Archaeological Project from 2008 to 2011. He has more than 10 years of experience in the archaeology of the Four Corners and has authored or coauthored several field reports. Much of his work at Crow Canyon has focused on Pueblo sites in the Goodman Point Unit of Hovenweep National Monument, and he has published articles about social organization and population movement in peer-reviewed professional journals. In his spare time he likes fishing, hiking, and helping out on the family farm.

Steve CopelandSteve Copeland (B.A., 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.

Kate HughesKate Hughes (M.A., Applied Anthropology, Northern Arizona University) began working in Crow Canyon’s lab in 2015. As Laboratory Analyst, she develops and teaches lab education programs, processes and analyzes artifacts, and assists with curation concerns. She also serves as Crow Canyon’s internship coordinator. A Crow Canyon lab intern in 2006, Kate has since worked for cultural resource management companies in the Four Corners region and in the Great Basin. Her research interests include textiles, lithic technology, and public archaeology; on her days off, she enjoys gardening, fiber arts, and exploring the outdoors.

nameJamie Merewether (B.A., University of Colorado) is Crow Canyon’s Collections Manager in the lab. She has worked in Crow Canyon’s research laboratory since 1997; before that, she gained extensive survey, excavation, and laboratory experience throughout the West. As collections manager, Jamie is responsible for keeping track of the thousands of artifacts and samples that come in from the field every year, making sure they are inventoried, cataloged, and analyzed correctly; she also manages the maps, photos, and other field documentation related to Crow Canyon excavations. When not at work, Jamie enjoys traveling, hiking, bird watching, and exploring the wilderness areas of the western U.S.

nameTim Wilcox is Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. He is a member of the Navajo Nation and Ohkay Owingeh (formerly San Juan Pueblo). His doctoral research focuses on the technological style and practice communities of Gobernador Polychrome pottery, produced in the Dinetah area of northwest New Mexico. As a traditional Navajo and Tewa potter, and southwestern organic Black-on-white replicator, Tim brings an Indigenous perspective to the technological style and communities of practice schools of thought. Tim has training in ceramic and lithic analysis, geophysical prospection, petrography, and GIS. Tim has worked for the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department, Stanford Heritage Services, Desert Archaeology, and is currently a field archaeologist at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. He was an Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Fellow, Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellow at Stanford University, and is currently a Fred J. Myers Research Fellow. He strives to make archaeology relevant to the Indigenous communities and the general public.

Accommodations are in comfortable, shared cabins on Crow Canyon’s 170-acre campus, just outside the town of Cortez. Students must provide their own sleeping kits and personal gear and will be housed in cabins designed to be energy efficient. Cabins include shower and toilet facilities. Housing costs are included with this program.

Crow Canyon provides Wi-Fi Internet service in campus buildings.

Laundry facilities will be made available to students.

This program provides all meals, seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On-campus meals are served cafeteria-style in the lodge. Dinner and lunches on campus 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 Haynie site or on survey, 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. Meal costs are included with this program.

Crow Canyon’s 170-acre campus, located just outside the town of Cortez, features a large meadow, pinyon- and juniper-covered hillsides, and spectacular views of Mesa Verde and the La Plata Mountains. A short nature trail winds through the woods. Buildings on campus include the lodge, cabins, 10 Navajo-style hogans, two learning centers, and the Gates Archaeology Laboratory (the Gates Building), which houses classrooms, libraries, offices, and a material culture laboratory. A lounge area is also available in the Gates Building.

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.

In addition to hosting participants in Crow Canyon programs, our rural campus is also visited by a variety of wildlife, including deer, rabbits, marmots, birds, snakes, lizards, foxes, coyotes, and the occasional mountain lion.

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
Cortez is 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.

From the intersection of Highway 491 and County Road L northwest of Cortez, turn west on Road L. Drive about 1 mile to Road 23 (watch for Crow Canyon sign), and turn left. In about 1 mile, Road 23 curves to the left and turns into Road K, which in turn becomes Crow Canyon's driveway.

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.

The field school fee covers in-field transportation, field equipment rental, housing, meals, instructor fees, evening lectures, and field trips to ancestral Pueblo sites in the Mesa Verde region. Transportation to and from Cortez and your personal gear are your responsibility. Weekends are yours to explore the cultural and natural attractions in the area.

Gear List
Field School Scholarships
Getting You & Your Gear to Crow Canyon
Terms, Conditions, and Cancellation Policy

Application Deadline:

Friday, March 19, 2021


$2,130, includes instruction, housing, and meals.

 Apply Here

"The field school was phenomenal. … I'm grateful for all the connections I've made with educators and my field school companions. Each person has impacted my life, and their passion and enthusiasm for this field is inspiring."
Monyssha, 2017

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