Archaeology Research Program, Session II

Cortez, CO


Join an archaeological survey at Hawkins Preserve, a 122-acre natural area located just south of Cortez, Colorado. The Preserve includes numerous Ancestral Pueblo habitations (A.D. 500–A.D. 1300) that are part of the Mitchell Springs Group, one of the largest community centers in Southwest Colorado. In addition, you’ll document several historic sites associated with Ute and Navajo occupation, as well as the earliest Euro-American settlers in the area. As a citizen scientist, you will directly contribute to our understanding of the archaeological record within the Preserve and enhance our knowledge of the Prehispanic and historic occupations in the Mesa Verde region.


  • Learn how to locate and record archaeological sites.
  • Assist in creating site maps using GPS technology.
  • Analyze artifacts in the field with Crow Canyon lab staff.

What to Expect

Day 1, Monday: Orientation

Staff Introductions, Introduction to Crow Canyon, Inquiries Into the Past Learning Module, Introduction to the Survey Project, Introduction to Artifact Analyses.

Day 2, Tuesday: Introduction to Pedestrian Survey and Recording

Introduction to Survey Methods, Recording Techniques, Pedestrian Survey, and Artifact Analyses.

Day 3, WednesdayDay 5, Friday: Pedestrian Survey and Site Recording

Survey and site documentation in the Hawkins Preserve. Learn how to locate and record archaeological sites, create site maps using GPS technology, and analyze artifacts in the field with Crow Canyon lab staff. We will likely include a field trip to a nearby archaeological site.

Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California CST 2059347-50

Is this program right for me?


Each session will include up to ten participants.


Participants must be able to hike off-trail on uneven terrain at an elevation of 6,000-feet and carry a pack containing water and a lunch. Temperatures may reach 90◦F, though this is unlikely in September. Hiking may include walking around and within vegetation and climbing over rocks may be required to access some sites. Equipment and extra water will be provided by Crow Canyon. The project area is a 20-minute walk from the nearest paved surface. Survey groups will be away from vehicles for much of the day. Restroom facilities will be a camp-style portable toilet with a privacy tent.


Option #1: Participants will provide their own housing, meals, and transportation to and from campus and the Hawkins Preserve for the duration of the program. Crow Canyon will provide a list of campgrounds, motels, restaurants, and grocery stores.

Option #2: Crow Canyon will provide lodging in Hogans on campus and will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday-Friday. Transportation between campus and the Preserve will be provided.


How strenuous is the program? Moderate—you can expect to hike with a backpack, stand for long periods at a time, and step up, down, and around rocks. Be prepared to bring and carry your own daypack with water, food, and other items you may need.

How long are the hikes? It should take no more than 20-minutes at a time to get to and from the sites we are recording.

How much elevation gain do the hikes have? Most of the survey area will have an elevation gain and descent of 100- to 150-feet.

What time does the program start each day? The program begins every day at 8:00 a.m., Monday through Friday. For those staying off campus, meet at the Hawkins Preserve parking lot near the intersection of Cedar and Verde Vu Streets. For those staying on campus, we depart at 7:45 a.m. to meet the rest of the group at Hawkins.

What time does the program end on the last day? The program ends at 5:00 p.m. on Friday.

Is airport transportation available? We can pick you up from the Cortez Municipal Airport (CEZ) or Durango La Plata Airport (DRO) for an additional fee each way (CEZ $50 one way; DRO $100 one way).

Can I bring an RV to stay on campus? RVs are not permitted to stay on campus. There are a number of local RV parks in the area, and we recommend making reservations well in advance.

Program Details