Picuris Pueblo Field School

Joint program of the University of Arizona, Picuris Pueblo, SMU-Taos, & Barnard College, now accepting applications

Join us this summer for The Picuris Pueblo Archaeological Field School! Students will earn 6 hours of undergraduate or graduate credit over the course of five weeks through hands-on training in archaeological fieldwork in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. Student participants will collaborate with archaeologists and tribal members at Picuris Pueblo, to gain experience in archaeological field survey, excavation, and collections management. Participants will also gain training in technical skills like total station mapping, geophysical survey, zooarchaeology, lithic analysis, and phytolith analysis. In addition to daily fieldwork, participants will develop individual research projects using Picuris heritage collections in consultation with tribal leaders, and partake in site visits, lectures, and tribal events to further their understanding of the ongoing indigenous history of northern New Mexico, as well as indigenous approaches to archaeology.

Project Location and Scope: Picuris Pueblo has been continuously inhabited since the 13th century and is a Tiwa speaking indigenous community located in scenic northern New Mexico. During the 2018 field season, our work will span three locations in order to gain a better understanding of the material culture of the Picuris nation and the communities’ interactions with neighboring Native and settler communities in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

 
Picuris Pueblo Government. Standing from left to right are Picuris Pueblo’s tribal leaders, Fiscale Jami Perez, Gov. Craig Quanchelo, Sheriff Jerome Salazar, Tribal Secretary Nancy Arrmijo, Second Fiscale Shaun Snake, Lt. Gov. Wayne Yazza jr., First War Chief Richard Mermejo, Second War Chief Ryan Griego and Third War Chief Gilbert Archuelta.  Photo by Arcenio J. Trujillo, The Taos News.

Our first research area is the contemporary tribal reservation of Picuris Pueblo, located about 25 miles south of Taos. At Picuris, we will use pedestrian and geophysical survey methods to document the extensive system of agricultural fields surrounding the pueblo and the remains of the Catholic church complex destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. We will also investigate the many historic camps on the community’s periphery, utilized by Jicarilla Apache traders during the 17th and 18th centuries. These archaeological features are key to understanding the nature and extent of the local economy at Picuris during the colonial era.

Participants will have the opportunity to excavate the midden (trash area) of the historic plaza of what is today the town of Dixon, New Mexico. Through our excavations, students will learn about shifting patterns of Hispano food consumption, craft production, trade, and landscape use during the colonial period. Comparisons between the remains at Dixon and those at nearby Picuris will allow us to assess the nature of inter-community relationships as the residents of colonial New Mexico developed economies around newly introduced animals (horses, cattle, and sheep), expanding trade networks, and transforming landscapes.

Finally, students will also work with previously excavated materials from Picuris, which are stored at the SMU-in-Taos research facilities.  These assemblages were excavated from room fills and midden contexts by Herbert Dick at Picuris in the 1960s. Our goal will be to build a collective database within which early colonial consumption and trade patterns can be explored through producing individual inventories and analyses of the artifacts.

Field Trips and Lectures: In addition to daily fieldwork, students will participate in a series of special events. Students will have the chance to tour many historically significant sites throughout northern New Mexico, including Pot Creek Pueblo (an ancestral Picuris village), rock art sites at Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Tsankawi Pueblo at Bandelier National Monument, and Pecos Pueblo. We will also attend traditional dances, feasts, and festivals put on by the communities of Picuris Pueblo and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. In the evenings, there will be several lectures by staff and guests. These talks will cover the history and archaeology of the Jicarilla Apache, the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, and much more.

Accommodations and Transportation: Students will camp on the beautiful 423-acre campus of Southern Methodist University at Fort Bergwin in Taos. Students will have access to campus shower and toilets, laundry facilities, basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts, as well as the library and computer lab. Breakfast and dinner will be served in the Fort Bergwin dining hall and lunch will be eaten in the field. Students will be transported in University of Arizona vehicles to Picuris Pueblo from Tucson at the beginning and end of the field school.

Course Instructor

Lindsay M. Montgomery is an Assistant Professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Research interests include indigenous archaeology, equestrian nomads, inter-ethnic interaction, and landscape analysis. Dr. Montgomery is a principle investigator on the project and will direct the survey of Picuris Pueblo’s agricultural fields and the Jicarilla campgrounds.

Participating Instructors

Richard Mermejo is the First War Chief of Picuris Pueblo. Mr. Mermejo will serve as the Tribal Archaeology Liaison for the field school and will monitor and guide all archaeological work conducted on Picuris Pueblo tribal lands.

Michael Adler is a Professor in the Anthropology Department at Southern Methodist University. Research interests include village aggregation, ethnic identity, and Pueblo material culture between A.D. 1250 and A.D. 1450. Dr. Adler is a principle investigator on the project and will direct work on the Picuris museum collection and geophysical survey of the Picuris Convento.

Severin M. Fowles is an Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department at Barnard College and Columbia University. Research interests include religion, indigeneity, and cultural landscape among the northern Pueblos. Dr. Fowles is a principle investigator on the project and will direct excavations at the Dixon plaza.

Tuition and Fees: Field school registration is subject to normal University of Arizona tuition and fees for summer school, which are the same for in-state and out-of-state students. In 2017, these fees were $424/ credit hour for undergraduates and $474/credit hour for graduate students. A special course fee of $700.00 for 6-credit hours covers field school costs and is due at registration.

Application and registration: Applications are available here. Enrollment is limited, and applications received by April 2, 2018 (please note new deadline!) will receive priority. Once accepted, students may register for one 3-credit lab course and one 3-credit field course. The courses are ANTH 442a and 442b (undergraduate credit) and ANTH 542a and 542b (graduate credit). If you are not currently enrolled as a student at the University of Arizona, please check with your advisor about transferring UA course credit to your home institution.