Director of archaeology Susan C. Ryan (Ph.D., University of Arizona) has worked at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center since 1998. She codirected the Shields Pueblo excavation project from 1998 to 2000 and was project director of the Albert Porter Pueblo excavation project from 2001 to 2004. As director of archaeology, Susan aligns the Center’s mission with ongoing field, laboratory, and online report publication activities. Her research interests include the nature and extent of Chacoan influence in the northern Southwest, the A.D. 1130–1180 drought, and the built environment.
Crow Canyon supervisory archaeologist Grant Coffey (M.A., Northern Arizona University) directed Phase II of the Goodman Point Archaeological Project from 2008 to 2011. He has more than 10 years of experience in the archaeology of the Four Corners and has authored or coauthored several field reports. Much of his work at Crow Canyon has focused on Pueblo sites in the Goodman Point Unit of Hovenweep National Monument, and he has published articles about social organization and population movement in peer-reviewed professional journals. In his spare time he likes fishing, hiking, and helping out on the family farm.
Leigh Cominiello (M.A., History/Historical Archaeology, University of West Florida) joined the Crow Canyon team in 2017 with 20 years of archaeological experience
in the field and laboratory; she has worked in state, federal, academic, and private
sectors. As Crow Canyon’s laboratory assistant, she enjoys sharing her passion for
teaching and lifelong learning with students and adults. In the lab, she teaches artifact
identification, analysis, and interpretation. Her current research interests include
cultural interactions at historic trading posts, as well as the decline of the Chaco regional
system. Leigh is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at the University of New Mexico.
Steve Copeland (B.A., University of Colorado) has worked at Crow Canyon since 2006 as a field archaeologist. During the program season, Steve is responsible for teaching students and adults archaeological field methods, so if your program includes site excavation, he’ll show you how to dig, screen, measure, map, and document your finds. Steve’s research interests include architecture and Southwest studies; on his days off, he enjoys mountain biking, backpacking, hiking, and spending time with family.
Kate Hughes (M.A., Applied Anthropology, Northern Arizona University) began working in Crow Canyon’s lab in 2015. As laboratory education coordinator, she develops and teaches lab education programs, processes and analyzes artifacts, and assists with curation concerns. She also serves as Crow Canyon’s internship coordinator. A Crow Canyon lab intern in 2006, Kate has since worked for cultural resource
management companies in the Four Corners region and in the Great Basin. Her research interests include textiles, lithic technology, and public archaeology; on her days off, she
enjoys gardening, fiber arts, and exploring the outdoors.
Jamie Merewether (B.A., University of Colorado) is Crow Canyon’s collections manager in the lab. She has worked in Crow Canyon’s research laboratory since 1997; before that, she gained extensive survey, excavation, and laboratory experience throughout the West. As collections manager, Jamie is responsible for keeping track of the thousands of artifacts and samples that come in from the field every year, making sure they are inventoried, cataloged, and analyzed correctly; she also manages the maps, photos, and other field documentation related to Crow Canyon excavations. When not at work, Jamie enjoys traveling, hiking, bird watching, and exploring the wilderness areas of the western U.S.
Kari Schleher (Ph.D., University of New Mexico) is Crow Canyon’s laboratory manager. She teaches artifact analysis to students and adults in Crow Canyon programs. Her specialty is the analysis and interpretation of Pueblo pottery; she is particularly interested in production technology and what pottery can tell us about connections between different groups of people who lived in the past. Kari enjoys traveling, especially to learn about cultures around the world, and she has worked on archaeological projects all over the American Southwest and in Peru. In her spare time, she likes to hike and make jewelry.
Field archaeologist Becca Simon (M.A., Colorado State University) started working at Crow Canyon in 2014. She grew up in Washington, D.C., where she developed a love of history and archaeology by visiting the many museums of the Smithsonian Institution. She has a passion for education and archaeology with work experience at various educational programs, museums, and cultural resource management companies. She has archaeological field experience in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and southern Jordan. Her professional interests include archaeological education, public outreach, historic preservation, Southwest archaeology, the protohistoric era, and historical photography.
Supervisory archaeologist Caitlin Sommer (M.A., University of Colorado) has been a field archaeologist at Crow Canyon since 2010, instructing students and adults in proper field methods and techniques—from digging and mapping to “reading” stratigraphy. She is the supervisory archaeologist for the Northern Chaco Outliers Project. Her research interests include the Basketmaker time period, specifically focusing on understanding the nature of these early farming communities. When not doing archaeology, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids, exploring the mountains and canyons of southwestern Colorado.
Meet all of our archaeologists and educators.
The field school fee includes accommodations in comfortable, shared cabins on Crow Canyon’s 170-acre campus, just outside the town of Cortez. Students must provide their own sleeping kits and personal gear. New in 2016, Crow Canyon's cabins have been designed to be energy efficient and to blend well with the landscape. Cabins include shared shower and toilet facilities.
Laundry facilities are not available on campus.
The field school fee includes all meals from Sunday night through Friday night each week.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served each day. On-campus meals are served cafeteria-style in the lodge; dinner and lunches include a salad bar and a vegetarian entree. Fresh fruit, lemonade, iced tea, and coffee are available on campus all day. If you are working at the site, snacks, water, and a picnic lunch (sandwiches, fresh fruit, chips, and cookies) are provided. Juice, spring water, and soda are available from the vending machine behind the lodge. Crow Canyon dining consistently receives rave reviews!
If you have special dietary needs, please contact us before your program. We are able to accommodate most special diets, but some may require you to bring supplemental foods.
Crow Canyon’s 170-acre campus, located just outside the town of Cortez, features a large meadow, pinyon- and juniper-covered hillsides, and spectacular views of Mesa Verde and the La Plata Mountains. A short nature trail winds through the woods. Buildings on campus include the lodge, cabins, guest hogans, two learning centers, and the Gates Archaeology Laboratory (the Gates Building), which houses classrooms, offices, and a small gift shop in addition to the lab. A lounge area is also available in the Gates Building. The Gates Building closes at 10 p.m.
Crow Canyon has Wi-Fi Internet service; the password may be obtained from the staff person at the front desk.
Crow Canyon is a center of learning for children, teens, and adults. You may be sharing the campus, including the dining hall, with people of different ages enrolled in a variety of programs, including school group programs (grades 4 through 12). p>
All indoor facilities are smoke-free. Wildfires are a real danger in our area; if you smoke, please do so only in the designated smoking area, at the picnic table behind the lodge. Smoking by minors (under age 18) is prohibited.
In addition to hosting participants in Crow Canyon programs, our rural campus is also visited by a variety of wildlife, including deer, rabbits, marmots, birds, snakes, lizards, foxes, coyotes, and the occasional mountain lion.
Crow Canyon is located amidst majestic
mountains, mesas, and canyons about 4
miles northwest of the town of Cortez in
southwestern Colorado. We are 15 miles
west of the entrance to Mesa Verde
National Park and 40 miles northeast of the
Four Corners Monument, where the states
of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New
Driving to Crow Canyon
Cortez is 50 miles west of
Durango, Colorado; 400 miles southwest of
Denver, Colorado; 250 miles northwest of
Albuquerque, New Mexico; 400 miles
northeast of Phoenix, Arizona; and 350
miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah.
From the intersection of Highway 491 and County Road L northwest of Cortez, turn west on Road L. Drive about 1 mile to Road 23 (watch for Crow Canyon sign), and turn left. In about 1 mile, Road 23 curves to the left and turns into Road K, which in turn becomes Crow Canyon's driveway.
Traveling by Air
The Cortez Municipal Airport, located about 15 minutes from campus, is served by Boutique Airlines (via Denver and Phoenix). The Durango–La Plata County Airport, located about 80 minutes from campus, is served by United Express (via Denver) and American Airlines (via Phoenix and Dallas-Fort Worth). Alternatively, you may fly into one of the following cities and rent a car: Farmington, New Mexico (75 miles to Cortez); or Albuquerque, New Mexico (about a 5-hour drive to Cortez).
For more information, please see the Details tab.
The field school fee covers in-field transportation, field equipment rental, camping fees, meals from Sunday night through Friday night, instructor fees, evening lectures, and field trips to ancestral Pueblo sites in the Mesa Verde region. Transportation to and from Cortez and your personal gear are your responsibility. Weekends are yours to explore the cultural and natural attractions in the area.
Sources of Scholarship Support
What to Expect
Getting You & Your Gear to Crow Canyon
Staying in Touch
Terms, Conditions, and Cancellation Policy
Safety & Medical Information
The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center's programs and admission practices are open to applicants of any race, color, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, or sexual orientation.
Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California
2018 Native American Scholarships
Native American College Field School Scholarships at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center were established in recognition of the lifelong achievements of philanthropists who support Crow Canyon’s mission. The purpose of the scholarships is to assist Native American graduate and undergraduate students with archaeological field school training who show promise of making a significant contribution to archaeological knowledge and/or American Indian cultures of North America. A scholarship recipient is awarded $4,100 to support their College Field School fees as well as $330 to support six credit hours of tuition offered by Adams State University. Two scholarships will be offered during the 2018 season.
Applicants for Native American College Field School Scholarships at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center must be enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program at a recognized university in North America. Students whose major is focused on the archaeology of North America, ethnography, American Indian studies, or museum studies/education will be given preference.