Preservation Archaeology in Southwest New Mexico

This listing expired on May 15, 2014. Please contact for any updated information.

Excavation at the Dinwiddie site.
Students analyze artifacts in our field lab.The remote and beautiful Mule Creek area.
Excavation at the Dinwiddie site.The small ranching community of Mule Creek, New Mexico

Location: Mule Creek, New Mexico, United States

Season Dates: May 28, 2014 - July 5, 2014
Application Deadline: March 7, 2014



Program Type
Field school

Affiliation: Archaeology Southwest and the University of Arizona

Project Director: Dr. Karen Schollmeyer and Dr. Jeffrey Clark, Archaeology Southwest

Project Description

Undergraduate and graduate students will learn excavation, survey, and analysis methods in a beautiful, remote, 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 2014, 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 we call Salado. Our research is focused on recovering and interpreting archaeological evidence from the 1200s–1400s. 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 2014 field school will begin at Archaeology Southwest’s Tucson, AZ headquarters, where students will take part in a three-day orientation before proceeding to our field site. In addition to excavation skills, students learn how to create surface artifact density maps; how to locate and document sites on survey and assess their condition; and how to process and analyze artifacts in the lab. Lectures, field trips, and public events expand these essential skills and present real-world opportunities to practice the principles of Preservation Archaeology.

This field school has been selected as part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.  Undergraduates who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents will receive a stipend that can be used for field fees, UA tuition, and travel costs.  Graduate and foreign students will be considered for admission to the field school, but are not eligible for financial support through the REU program. See our website for more information on who qualifies.

Period(s) of Occupation: AD 1250-1450

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full session

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: None; some related coursework preferred

Room and Board Arrangements

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 but 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 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.

Cost: $1200 (may be covered by stipend for qualifying undergraduates)

Academic Credit
Name of institution offering credit: University of Arizona
Number of credits offered: 4-credit field course and 3-credit lab course
Tuition: $2,774 (may be covered by stipend for qualifying undergraduates); approximately $3,089 for graduate students

Contact Information
Karen Schollmeyer
300 N. Ash Alley
Tucson, AZ 85701
Phone: 480-544-6370
Fax: 520-882-6948

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