2014 Preservation Archaeology Field School at Mule Creek, New Mexico
Joint program of the University of Arizona and Archaeology Southwest and now accepting applications
Archaeology Southwest and the University of Arizona School of Anthropology are offering our fourth Preservation Archaeology Field School in southwestern New Mexico, from May 28 through July 5, 2014. The field school provides undergraduate students with a unique opportunity to learn excavation, survey, and analysis methods in a stunningly beautiful part of the American Southwest with a rich archaeological record. Up to twelve undergraduate students are supported by the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. Students from traditionally underserved communities and institutions will be prioritized.
The field school curriculum highlights the goals, ethics, and practice of preservation archaeology, integrating research, education, and preservation within a community-based framework. Our goal is to train future generations of archaeologists in ethically responsible and scientifically rigorous field and research methods while answering compelling questions about our shared past.
Project Location: Our field camp is in the scenic valley of Mule Creek, New Mexico, located roughly 50 miles northeast of Safford, Arizona and 5,200 ft above sea level. Mule Creek is near one of the largest and most widely distributed obsidian sources in the ancient U.S. Southwest. Students and staff will camp on a working cattle ranch with basic – but comfortable – accommodations. We have a facility for solar showers, portable toilets in camp and at our work site, and the camp house has electricity, running water, and a kitchen. We will have a full-time cook and all meals will be provided by the project. Transportation between Tucson and Mule Creek before and after the field school will also be provided.
Course Goals and Activities: Through this intensive, immersive five-week experiential learning program, students will learn the fundamentals of archaeological fieldwork, the basic tenets of Preservation Archaeology, and how to develop and implement archaeological research designs. They will be expected to think critically about the values of archaeology and history to different communities, and explore different ways to communicate the results of scientific research to the public. Students will actively participate in data collection that will contribute to Archaeology Southwest’s long term study of demographic change, migration, and community organization in the southern U.S. Southwest during the late precontact period (ca. A.D. 1200-1500).
This season, students will participate in test excavations at the Dinwiddie site, located about 30 minutes from our field camp near the town of Cliff, New Mexico. This site has a small pre-A.D. 1300 occupation and a Salado adobe pueblo that was inhabited until roughly AD 1450. Our research will focus on better defining the Salado site components, collecting samples to assess past subsistence practices and social organization, as well as for ceramic seriation and obsidian sourcing.
In addition to excavation skills, students will learn how to identify and document archaeological sites on the landscape, as well as artifact processing and analysis techniques. Field and lab activities, supplemented with lectures, field trips, and public events, will help students develop essential skills and familiarize them with the principles of Preservation Archaeology and archaeological research methods. Students will work in small groups throughout the summer, rotating through several training modules with specific learning objectives and activities designed to provide students them with different but complementary skill sets. Student grades will be based on participation in field and lab activities, as well as completion of a field journal, a written excavation unit summary, a short, informal essay, and a research project, to be completed by the end of the session.
Students will have the opportunity to interact with local experts and distinguished faculty from several academic institutions. Field trips will include visits to major archaeological sites in the region, including Chaco Canyon, the Gila Cliff Dwellings, and the modern pueblos of Zuni and Acoma. Days off will include optional trips to Silver City or other nearby attractions like the Gila River.
Karen Gust Schollmeyer is a Preservation Archaeologist at Archaeology Southwest. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Arizona State University in 2009. Her research interests concern long-term human-environment interactions, food security and landscape use, and how archaeologists’ long-term insights can be applied to modern issues in conservation and development. Her research has been published in American Antiquity, the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Kiva, and several book chapters. She has directed numerous field schools in southwest New Mexico.
Jeffery J. Clark is also a Preservation Archaeologist at Archaeology Southwest. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in 1997. Dr. Clark has worked extensively in both Southwest Asia and the southern U.S. Southwest. His primary research interest is assessing the scale and impact of ancient migration from archaeological data. He has written extensively on the topic, including one monograph, an edited book, several book chapters, and articles in Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, American Antiquity, Kiva, Journal of Field Archaeology, and Journal of Archaeological Research.
Application and Registration: In order to be eligible for this REU opportunity, undergraduate student participants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An undergraduate student is a student who is enrolled in a degree program (part-time or full-time) leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree. Students who are transferring from one college or university to another and are enrolled at neither institution during the intervening summer may participate. High school graduates who have been accepted at an undergraduate institution but who have not yet started their undergraduate study are also eligible to participate. Each REU student will receive a stipend of $2,860. Graduate students and foreign students will be considered for admission to the field school, but are not eligible for financial support through the REU program.
Course registration is by permission of the instructors. Application forms are available here. Enrollment is limited, and applications received by March 7, 2014 will receive priority. Applications will be accepted until the course is filled. Once accepted, students will be registered for one 3-credit lab course and one 4-credit field course. The courses are Anth 455a and 455b, section 2 (undergraduate credit) or Anth 555a and 555b, section 2 (graduate credit). Please check with your advisor about transferring UA course credits to your home university.
Tuition and Fees: Tuition and fees for University of Arizona summer school are the same for in-state and out-of-state students. Summer 2014 tuition has not yet been set, but in 2013 was $2,774 for undergrads and $3,089 for graduate students. Non-UA students must also pay a one-time application fee of $65. A $1,200 special course fee covering lodging and transportation costs associated with the field school is due at registration.
Additional information about ongoing work in southwestern New Mexico can be found on the Archaeology Southwest website.