Range Creek Field Station Archaeological Field School

This listing expired on June 10, 2019. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Range Creek Canyon, Utah, UT, US

Season: June 10, 2019 to July 31, 2019

Session Dates: June 10th-July 31st 4 ten-day sessions are required (8 upper division credits)

Application Deadline: March 1, 2019

Deadline Type: Contact for details


Program Type:
Field school

RPA Certified:

Natural History Museum of Utah, University of Utah

Project Director:
Dr. Shannon Arnold Boomgarden

Project Description:

The University of Utah’s summer program in archaeological field techniques will be held at Range Creek Canyon in east central Utah. Jointly sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Natural History Museum of Utah, this course offers students the opportunity to learn modern archaeological field and lab techniques in an ongoing field research program. Under the direction of Dr. Shannon Boomgarden, participants in the program will also receive training in archaeological method and theory. Participants will receive training in a variety of field techniques including survey, excavation, mapping, soil identification, and aspects of paleo-ecological research. The project is focused on investigating foraging and maize farming productivity, prehistoric irrigation techniques, storage strategies, and settlement patterns of the Fremont inhabitants of Range Creek Canyon ~1,000 years ago. No previous experience is necessary, but some exposure to basic archaeological and anthropological concepts is recommended.

Period(s) of Occupation: Formative/Fremont AD 900-1300

The University of Utah's summer program in archaeological field methods will be held in Range Creek Canyon for the thirteenth year. Range Creek is a tributary of the Green River on the West Tavaputs Plateau in east-central Utah. Extremely remote due to the rugged character of the plateau, Range Creek is bordered by Nine Mile Canyon to the north, the Book Cliffs to the east and south, and Desolation Canyon to the east. We are unaware of another region in the state of Utah that has the sheer number and density of essentially untouched archaeological sites. This coming summer, we will continue identifying and recording archaeological sites in the canyon. We use the IMACS form and associated database for documenting sites. We have recently begun conducting experimental projects to investigate prehistoric subsistence strategies such as wild food collecting and maize farming. Students will be introduced to total stations used for detailed contour mapping; ArcGIS, Pathfinder, TerraSync and Surfer computer software for ensuring data quality; basic excavation techniques; the feature system for organizing excavation notes; and the field specimen cataloging system.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 ten-day sessions

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No previous experience is necessary, but some exposure to basic archaeological and anthropological concepts is recommended.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Expect comfortable but relatively primitive living conditions. We will be camping at the Wilcox ranch, which was a working ranch until a few years ago. Students are expected to provide their own camping equipment (personal tents, sleeping bags and pads, etc.). Meals during the ten-day work sessions will be prepared by a professional cook. Water, toilets, and archaeological field equipment (aside from the personal tool kit) will be provided by the field program. All students will be expected to assist in the daily camp chores required to keep a field camp running smoothly. Additionally, one day of each field session will be devoted to maintaining the ranch, and will include such activities as landscape upkeep, cutting firewood, painting, mowing, etc. It is a small price to pay for having access to the main ranch house for cooking facilities, the bunkhouse and a log cabin for research facilities. Students will also assist with cooking on a one-day rotational basis. Cost: Tuition only plus basic tool kit/camping gear (no special fees for room and board)

Academic Credit:
8 upper division credits credits offered by University of Utah. Tuition: only! no special fees, meals included, ~$2,961.11 for 8 credit hours (subject to change-see University of Utah tuition schedule for updates). All students pay resident tuition rates during summer semester! .

Contact Information:

Shannon Arnold Boomgarden

801 Wakara Way

Salt Lake City




Phone: 801.587.5747

Fax: 801.585.3684

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