Preservation Archaeology Field School

2016 Field School Banner


The Preservation Archaeology Field School in southwestern New Mexico will convene from May 25 through July 5, 2016. This unique six-week program provides students with an opportunity to learn excavation, survey, and analysis methods in a beautiful, remote, and archaeologically rich part of the American Southwest.

Download a PDF with information about the 2016 field school

Our innovative curriculum highlights the goals, ethics, and practice of Preservation Archaeology, which integrates research, education, and preservation within a community-based framework. Together, students and staff explore ethically responsible and scientifically rigorous field and research methods while investigating compelling questions about our shared past.

In 2016, students will participate in test excavations at the Gila River Farm site near Cliff, New Mexico. People lived in this adobe pueblo during the Cliff phase (A.D. 1300–1450). Artifacts and architecture here show a mix of influences, perhaps including traditions originating in northeastern Arizona’s Kayenta area (part of the Ancestral Pueblo homelands), or from various local Mogollon groups before 1300. At the Gila River Farm site, community members participated in a multiethnic ideology that we call Salado. Our research is focused on understanding how different earlier traditions combined under this ideology and allowed people of various cultural backgrounds to live together. Key questions include what kinds of pottery the site’s residents made and used and how this changed over time, how they used local plants and animals, and where they obtained raw material for stone tools, particularly obsidian.

The field school will begin at Archaeology Southwest’s Tucson headquarters, where students will take part in a three-day orientation to the principles of Preservation Archaeology. The remainder of the program takes place in Cliff, New Mexico.

Qualifying undergraduate students receive financial support through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program (NSF Award No. 1359458).

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Project Location and Amenities

Learn about where you will camp and what you should plan to bring.

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Course Goals and Activities

We will teach you the fundamentals of Preservation Archaeology, archaeological fieldwork, as well as research design and implementation.

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Meet the faculty and staff for the upcoming Preservation Archaeology field school season.

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Application and Registration

Read your application and tuition details, and see if you qualify for REU funding.

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Student Testimonials

See what students from past seasons are saying.



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