2013 Preservation Archaeology Field School at Mule Creek, New Mexico
UPDATE, March 27, 2013: Enrollment now closed.
The third Preservation Archaeology Field School at Mule Creek, New Mexico, will convene from May 27 through July 7, 2013. This unique program provides undergraduate and graduate students with an opportunity to learn excavation, survey, and analysis methods in a stunning and archaeologically rich part of the American Southwest. 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 2013, students will participate in test excavations at the Dinwiddie site near Cliff, New Mexico. People likely lived at Dinwiddie during the Classic Mimbres period (A.D. 1000–1130), and perhaps earlier. A group with origins in northeastern Arizona, the Kayenta, subsequently established a settlement at Dinwiddie in the late 1200s. An adobe pueblo community then developed around A.D. 1300, lasting until about 1450. Community members participated in a new ideology that we call Salado. Our research will focus on recovering and interpreting archaeological evidence from the 1200s–1400s. Our key questions include what kinds of pottery the site’s residents made and used and how this changed over time, how they made a living, and where they obtained raw material for stone tools, particularly obsidian.
The 2013 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.
Project Location and Amenities
Our base camp lies at 5,200 feet above sea level in the scenic valley of Mule Creek, New Mexico, between Safford, Arizona, and Silver City, New Mexico. Students and staff camp on the Rocker Diamond X Ranch, a working cattle ranch with basic, yet comfortable accommodations. Amenities include solar showers, portable toilets in camp and at our work site, and a camp house with electricity, running water, and kitchen. A full-time cook prepares all project meals; we eat out on days off and on field trips. We also provide transportation between Tucson and Mule Creek at the beginning and end of the field school. During orientation in Tucson, field school students reside in UA campus housing.
Going to Archaeology Southwest and University of Arizona’s Field School at Mule Creek was one of the best decisions I’ve made and a great experience. And if you’re nervous about living in a tent, trust me, it’s really not that bad. When you go back home, you’ll actually miss it. — Kelly S., 2012, Rutgers.
Course Goals and Activities
Through immersion in a six-week experiential learning program, students learn the fundamentals of Preservation Archaeology and archaeological fieldwork, as well as research design and implementation. The program fosters critical consideration of how various communities value archaeology and history, and we explore diverse means of sharing research results with host communities and the broader public. As active participants in data collection, students 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).
I attended the Mule Creek field school after my sophomore year of college. The six weeks I spent in Mule Creek were some of the most exciting weeks of my life! The staff and ranch owners were amazing, and their passion and enthusiasm for archaeology were very apparent. The skills I gained allowed me the opportunity to be part of a bioarchaeological excavation team in Peru the summer after. Not only did I learn proper excavation skills, but I also learned the intricate processes at play when running an archaeological excavation in terms of community, landowner, and project member interactions. — Zoe M., 2011, UVM
In addition to excavation skills, students learn how to create surface artifact density maps; how to relocate, document, and assess the condition of sites; and how to process and analyze artifacts. Lectures, field trips, and public events expand these essential skills and present real-world opportunities to practice the principles of Preservation Archaeology. Students work in pairs or small groups throughout the program, rotating through training modules that offer different but complementary means of learning specific skills. Instructors evaluate students on participation in field and lab activities, and on completion of a field journal, excavation unit summary, short essay, and research project.
One of my best experiences at field school was the chance to experience some experimental archaeology. Working with instructors, we learned how to quickly identify and classify points, flakes, and techniques. In addition to seeing the artifacts, we also had the opportunities to perfect our own point-making skills by knapping the abundant obsidian in the area while having the aid of experienced instructors nearby. — Nathan T., 2012, U. of Arkansas
Students interact with local experts and distinguished faculty from several academic institutions. Field trips include tours of major archaeological sites in the region, such as Chaco Canyon and the Gila Cliff Dwellings, and we also visit the modern pueblos of Zuni and Acoma. Days off include optional trips to Silver City or other nearby attractions, such as the Gila River.
The field trips we went on were wonderful. Acoma Pueblo and Chaco Canyon are both memorable and awe inspiring, to say the least! — Jordan T., 2012, Eastern New Mexico U.
Deborah L. Huntley is a Preservation Archaeologist at Archaeology Southwest. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Arizona State University in 2004. Her research interests include prehistoric Southwestern sociopolitical organization; technological, compositional, and stylistic analyses of ceramics; migration and long-distance interaction; and interpreting archaeology for the public. In addition to a monograph, numerous book chapters, and an edited book, her research has been published in American Antiquity, the Journal of Archaeological Science, and Kiva. Together with Dr. Clark, she has directed the Preservation Archaeology Field School since 2011.
I had a great time at the Mule Creek Field School. The staff members created a positive atmosphere and were always willing to answer questions. I learned a great deal about field methods, the lives of ancient Puebloan peoples, and the ins and outs of archaeology in the Southwest. The staff kept things interesting with activities like flintknapping, outreach to local schoolchildren, and field trips to nearby archaeological sites. The trips to Chaco Canyon and Acoma Pueblo were particularly spectacular. I feel my experiences at Mule Creek will be valuable throughout the rest of my archaeological career. — Tom S., 2012, Arizona State U.
Jeffery J. Clark is also a Preservation Archaeologist at Archaeology Southwest. He received his Ph.D. at UA 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 using archaeological data. He has written extensively on the topic, including one monograph, an edited book, several book chapters, and articles in American Antiquity, Kiva, Journal of Field Archaeology, and Journal of Archaeological Research.
I attended the field school after earning my BA in Anthropology. It was my first foray into the world of archaeological fieldwork. After five weeks, I had acquired the skills I needed to be hired on with several cultural resource management firms. I cannot recommend the Preservation Archaeology Field School enough. — Jake M., 2011, Hendrix College
Application and Registration — CLOSED as of March 27, 2013
Course registration is by permission of the instructors. Application forms are available here (opens in MS Word) and here (opens as a PDF), or from Ann Samuelson, UA Anthropology undergraduate advisor. Enrollment is limited, and applications received by March 8, 2013 will receive priority. Notification of accepted applicants will begin by March 15, 2013. We will accept applications 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 consult with your advisor about transferring UA course credits to your home university.
I have nothing but good things to say about my field school experience with Archaeology Southwest. My six weeks there were informative and truly prepared me for my future education and career. In the classes I’m taking now, I have less stress and understand concepts much faster because of my field experience. — Madeline W., 2012, Grand Valley State
Tuition and Fees — ENROLLMENT CLOSED as of March 27, 2013
Tuition and fees for UA summer school are the same for in-state and out-of-state students. Summer 2013 tuition and fees have not yet been set; as a guideline, note that 2012 fees were $348/credit hour for undergrads and $412/credit hour for graduate students. Non-UA students must also pay a one-time application fee of $65. A special course fee of $1200 is due upon registration. This covers lodging and transportation costs.
The field school offers an accurate field experience alongside academia. There were multiple field trips, including sleeping under the stars at Chaco Canyon! It was a very comprehensive experience that has aided me in my career. — Elizabeth N., 2012, U. of Colorado, Boulder
I can honestly say that the Preservation Archaeology Field School was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life thus far. Mule Creek is a beautiful location. With the rolling hills in the distance and the roaming wildlife all around, you forget that there is a much crazier world out there. I learned more than I ever thought I could and had fun doing it. It can be hard work at times, but I loved every second of it. — Dan W., 2011, SUNY Binghamton