Every year, Crow Canyon draws a name from the list of people who have signed up to receive our newsletters. The winner receives free tuition to an Archaeology Research Program.
This year's winner, London Maust, came all the way from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, during one of the hotter weeks of the summer. Her family traveled with her and explored the region while she was at Crow Canyon.
"I've always had an interest in archaeology but wasn't able to study it in college," she said. "I had this opportunity and said, 'I'm definitely taking it!'" Now her interest has grown.
London said she knew nothing about the population and culture here, so she was starting fresh.
"I wanted to learn a little bit about it, and about what an archaeological dig involves."
She learned more than she bargained for.
"I feel like I started with no knowledge and learned 100 percent.
"I didn't realize that conservation archaeology is a thing. I didn't realize that archaeology is not just digging and sending artifacts off. [Crow Canyon] definitely gave me an idea of what archaeology actually is.
"I was very surprised to learn what limits there are to archaeology. Naively, I thought that because you're doing it for a good reason, there wouldn't be any limits.
Another revelation was how much she was allowed to participate in Crow Canyon's research activities.
"You're really thrown into it from Day 1. It's definitely hands-on learning, and I kept thinking, 'Are you sure you want me to?'"
The natural beauty of the area was yet another benefit. "When I was digging, sometimes I just had to stop and look around. And it's almost like a zoo outside my window: marmots, prairie dogs, squirrels, and deer!" She also mentioned a memorably large bug.
London just completed a degree in psychology at Louisiana State University. She is currently applying to graduate programs in neuroscience and biochemistry, and she eventually wants to attend medical school. It makes sense, then, that she particularly enjoyed her time in the lab.
"That's more the way my brain works, diagnostics and analysis."
Her recommendation for anyone deciding whether to enroll in the Archaeology Research Program?
"Definitely do it, especially if you have even a mild interest in archaeology or the southwest culture, or even if you just like learning new things," she said.
"It's something I'll never forget."