San Juan College Totah Archaeological Project Field School

This listing expired on August 14, 2023. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Farmington, NM, US

Season: June 5, 2023 to July 14, 2023

Session Dates: Excavation will be conducted during the first four weeks of the session and lab work in the final two weeks. One excavation day and one survey day are planned during the two lab weeks. Those who are auditing, taking either class for no credit, can attend any portion or all of the six-week session. See the attached PDF Flyer for detailed information on the field school. Contact Linda Wheelbarger to register for either or both classes. Sorry, but I cannot seem to figure out how to get rid of the Coronavirus notice at the top of this page. There are no restrictions at San Juan College!

Application Deadline: June 30, 2023

Deadline Type: Rolling

Discount for AIA members: None

Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

San Juan College, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington, NM 87402

Project Director:
Linda Wheelbarger, San Juan College Adjunct Faculty

Project Description:

The San Juan College Totah Archaeological Project field school is the main component of an on-going research project funded by San Juan College (SJC) and Tommy Bolack, owner and manager of the B-Square Ranch. The field school is conducted on the 12,461 acre B-Square Ranch, a combination working cattle ranch, waterfowl conservation area, and museum facility.  We are in high desert Colorado Plateau terrain and normally receive only 8 to 12 inches of precipitation a year.  It is hot in the summer, but rarely over 100 degrees. Our area is called “Totah” by local Navajos meaning “land amidst water” because of the three rivers which junction at the western edge of Farmington.

This year we will continue work at the Point site, an Ancestral Puebloan ceremonial center.  It has a Chacoan style Great Kiva and Middle San Juan style Great House with attached arc of rooms and court kiva in the plaza area.  The site dates to the Pueblo II time period of CE 850-1150 and the subsequent Pueblo III time period of CE 1150-1300.  There are also earlier components dating to the Basketmaker and Pueblo I periods.   Plans are to work at the Great Kiva, Great House, and pitstructure areas of the site.  The site is located at the base of the Shannon Bluffs on the south side of the San Juan River immediately south of the city of Farmington, New Mexico.  Our Totah Archaeological Project web page will soon be available as well as a brochure with the 2023 information.  Please contact Wheelbarger for additional information.

The 2023 six-week field school session will run from June 5 to July 14, 2023.  Four weeks of field work will be followed by two weeks of lab.

Two courses are offered concurrently during the official four-week session: a 6 credit ANTH 2120 Archaeology Field School and a 3 credit ANTH 2998 Archaeology Internship.  Four weeks of participation are required for the 6 credit ANTH 2120 Field School and two weeks of participation are required for the 3 credit ANTH 2998 Archaeology Internship.  The ANTH 2998 students may choose to attend any portion of the 6 weeks as long as the amount of time attended is the equivalent of two weeks, or 80 hours. Students may register for the 3 credit class as late as June 30, 2023 because the amount of time they are required to attend is still possible during the remainder of the session.  All students are welcome to stay for the entire field session if they so desire whether they are taking the course for a grade or are auditing the class with no grade.

People interested in attending the field school as a volunteer may register for the ANTH 2998 3-credit internship, Auditing the course (no grade or credits given to the student), and thus can attend the entire session or any part of the session but are not responsible for any course requirements. Students who have previously taken and paid for the field school or internship, are permitted to volunteer with no fees required.

Participants in the field school/archaeology internship course will receive instruction in archaeological excavation and survey including mapping of sites using both compass and tape as well as with hand held GPS unit was.  We will also conduct laboratory processing of recovered cultural materials, drafting, and some limited artifact analysis. Lectures on southwestern archaeology and contract archaeology, and workshops on artifact and ecofact analysis are included in the session. Tours of Aztec Ruins National Monument and Salmon Ruins are planned for during the session.  Other sites may be toured on weeekends include Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, and the Navajo pueblitos and rock art of the Largo Canyon area. Tours are optional because many of my students have already been to these sites.

Monday of the first week of field school is a class day orienting students to the project, archaeological fieldwork procedures and practices, and archaeology of the Southwest. Tuesday activities will consist of a tour of the Ancestral Puebloan and Navajo sites and rock art on the Ranch. We will begin excavation on Wednesday, June 7, 2023. The PDF flyer on this web page contains detailed information on the field school including a calendar schedule of activities.

The final two weeks of the session, following the field school, July 3 to July 14, 2023, will consist of continuing the lab work began during the excavation weeks.  This will consist of additional cleaning of artifacts, photographing artifacts, entry of artifact data and provenience data, manipulation of that data into tables, drafting of plan views and profiles completed during the excavation, typing remarks from excavation forms, and some limited artifact analysis. Our local Southwest Pecos Conference ( is from August 10-13, 2023 and students are encouraged to accompany me.  I always give a presentation on the summers work and students are encouraged to present a talk or poster.

In general, we will excavate 3 or 4 days a week with the other 1 or 2 days spent on lab, touring or survey.  I have scheduled three days of archaeological survey on the the B-Square Ranch where we will go over survey methodology, survey a specific area, find a site, and record the site using both GPS and compass/tape techniques.

We began field schools at Point in 2006 and spent many years working in the great kiva. The past several years we have concentrated on the multi-story D-shaped great house and will be continuing that focus in 2023.

The goal for 2023 is to continue excavation in the Great Kiva, the Great House, the Court Kiva in the plaza area, and the pitstructure.

If you wish to register for either or both courses, contact Linda Wheelbarger.

Period(s) of Occupation: Ancestral Puebloan/Anasazi, Basketmaker III through Pueblo III time periods, CE 400-1300

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Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: For those taking the class for credit: 2 weeks are required for 3 credits and 4 weeks for 6 credits. Those who are auditing can attend any portion of the 6 week session.

Minimum Age: 16, with special stipulations (contact Wheelbarger)

Experience Required: No experience required and no pre-requisites

Room and Board Arrangements:
Room and board are the responsibility of the student, however, for many years I have arranged for non-local students to stay at the Economy Inn motel in downtown Farmington where special rates are given to the students. This has worked out very well and the Economy Inn has agreed to provide special rates again in 2020. The motel is located in our small downtown area only 2 blocks from the Three Rivers Brewery and Café and only a couple miles from the Ranch headquarters. All rooms have a microwave and small refrigerator. When sharing a room with another student, a room with two beds is a total of  $250 for each week including taxes ($125 for each student). Students may choose not to have a roommate with a single occupancy rate of $240 per week including taxes. There is one room with four beds and a full kitchen (large refrigerator and stove, but no oven). When 2 or 3 students are staying in that room it is still only $125 per week including taxes for each of them. If four students stay in that room, the cost is reduced to only $95 per week including taxes for each student.   Also, students are welcome to find their own lodging, stay at local campgrounds, or they may choose to camp for free on Bureau of Land Management land in the vicinity (no amenities). Contact Wheelbarger for more information. Check out the Farmington New Mexico Convention and Visitors Bureau’s web page that has lots of information on the area ( You can also check your smartphone for Realty Agents and Apartment complexes or Airbnb rentals in Farmington or nearby cities.    Food costs are dependent on the student, but $100 per week is a minimal, estimate. For further information contact Linda Wheelbarger at: Cost: In general, total room and board costs, if staying at the Economy Inn, will range from $195 to $225 per week for those sharing rooms or $340 per week if a student stays in a room by themselves. Or, if students choose to camp, costs can be greatly reduced or they will be increased if you choose to stay at a more expensive motel. Transportation: Students without vehicles can ride with other students or when necessary the director will pick them up in the morning and drop them off at the motel on work days.

Academic Credit:
ANTH 2120 Archaeology Field School = 6 credits; ANTH 2998 Archaeology Internship = 3 credits This is undergraduate credit offered by San Juan College, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington, NM 87402. Tuition for New Mexico residents is a per credit hour fee of $56.00 plus an additional flat fee of $77.50 for 1-4 credit hours or $185 for 5 or more credit hours. Tuition for Non-New Mexico residents is a per credit hour fee of $178.00 plus an additional flat fee of $137.50 for 1-4 credits or an additional flat fee of $305.00 for students taking 5 or more credits. Also, ALL students, both resident and non-resident, must pay a $1.50 activity fee per credit hour and an Equipment and Supply fee of $100 for each 3 credits, The Equipment and Supply fee covers equipment, vehicle rental, porta-pottie rental, and supply costs. Total tuition cost for the field school including credit hour fee, additional flat fee, activity fee, and equipment and supply fee is: New Mexico Residents: 3 credits = $350.00; 6 credits = $730.00; 9 credits = $1,002.50 Non-New Mexico Residents: 3 credits = $776.00; 6 credits = $1,582.00; 9 credits = $2,220.50

Contact Information:

Linda Wheelbarger

4601 College Blvd.




United States

Phone: 505 320-1834 (cell)

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