By Kathryn Turney, field school student from Pima Community College
There is much more to Upper Gila Archaeological Preservation Field School than learning the basics of Preservation Archaeology. There are fun and informative field trips and lecture opportunities and a lot of hands on learning. Additionally, archaeology may mean living in the field, literally in a tent for weeks at a time in a very remote setting.
Our camp is set up to give the participants the whole field experience, although we do have a few creature comforts such as internet and our very own cook, Julie, who is making sure that we are not losing weight while we work hard.
Our base is in Mule Creek, New Mexico, one of the most picturesque settings imaginable.
We all have brought our own tents and various camping equipment to make our own nests while we are here for 6 weeks. It is fondly referred to as Tent City, as most students tend to cluster together in a small area. It’s a large ranch, but camaraderie is the name of the game in Mule Creek.
We all use solar showers, which are surprisingly comfortable and easy to use. The building where everyone showers is constructed from adobe brick made right in Mule Creek, New Mexico by Mule Creek Adobe.
We have a lot of activities to choose from such as horseshoes, croquet, Frisbee, hiking, exploring and the camp is well equipped with board and card games. There are always talented flintknappers on hand to teach us how to make projectile points.
We have a great lab on site this year and our lab supervisor, Katherine Dungan has been happily setting it up. The tent is so large that we are planning a movie night. The balmy evening breeze and our very own nacho machine make this a winning combination to relax after a long day in the field.
I have to say that my experience with camp life has been relaxing, entertaining and educational. Our hosts, TA’s and Project Directors have made a well planned and executed educational experience worthwhile.
One last word on preservation. It is not just about prehistoric artifacts. Mule Creek also loves our earth and we are doing our part to make the world a better place for future generations.