College Field School For Undergraduates

REU Site: Exploring Ancient Communities Through Archaeology

Monday, May 20 – Saturday, July 6, 2024
Application period is now closed. Check back in 2025.

Earn college credit at Crow Canyon during College Field School!
Tuition for six credit hours: Undergraduate students may enroll in Anthropology 379 through Adams State University.


This project is funded in part by the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences directorate. It has broader scientific and societal impacts in addition to integrating undergraduate research and education. This REU Sites award to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center supports authentic archaeological research for 10 undergraduate students from underrepresented populations over the course of seven weeks spanning three years (30 total students).

Students actively engage in research alongside professional mentors within the framework of a long-term research project, the Northern Chaco Outliers Project. Students receive extensive preparation in STEM-based learning objectives that are necessary for future success within the discipline. This program provides students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to secure future employment within archaeology and to pursue advanced degrees, emerging as the next generation of professionals, Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, educators, and leaders within the sciences. Inferences generated about past human behavior are utilized to create a better understanding of the principles that govern culture change worldwide and to address issues relevant to today’s societies, providing critical information to guide future policy making.

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center initiated the Northern Chaco Outliers Project in 2017 with the goals of addressing important regional questions surrounding the expansion of ancient communities in the Mesa Verde region, as well as broader anthropological research questions concerning human-environment interactions, the development of inequality/equality, the political role of community centers, and identity formation/dissolution. Although this project has a regional focus, its results have national and global impacts. By engaging in scientific research focused on broader anthropological questions, REU students advance and share knowledge of the human past and contribute to cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary research surrounding human actions in the past, present, and future.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Under the direction of Dr. Susan C. Ryan, the Center’s Chief Mission Officer, undergraduate students may, but are not required to, enroll for 6 credit hours in Anthropology 379, through Adams State University in Colorado that can be transferred to their home institution.
This field school is certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists.

Crow Canyon’s College Field School is certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists.

Anonymous Testimonials from former College Field School Students:

“Working with Native Scholars and hearing their perspectives on our work was extremely valuable to me. It’s something I will carry with me forever, personally and academically.”

“Working in teams and learning how to cooperate on a research project will pay dividends for future collaboration.”

“I didn’t know much about graduate school things before going into this program. Nor did I know too much about the professional world of archaeology, but now I have a clearer picture of both.”

Qualifying students will receive a stipend to support their attendance through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program (NSF REU 1851763).

Accommodations are 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 and will be housed in cabins designed to be energy efficient. Cabins include shower and toilet facilities. Housing costs are included with this program.

    • Crow Canyon provides Wi-Fi Internet service in campus buildings.
    • Laundry facilities will be made available to students.

This program provides all meals, seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On-campus meals are served cafeteria-style in the lodge. Dinner and lunches on campus 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 Haynie site or on survey, 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. Meal costs are included with this program.

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, 10 Dinée style hogans, two learning centers, and the Gates Archaeology Laboratory (the Gates Building), which houses classrooms, libraries, offices, and a material culture laboratory. A lounge area is also available in the Gates Building.

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.

The field school fee covers in-field transportation, field equipment rental, housing, meals, 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.