Now Accepting Applications for the Fall 2020 Chaco Canyon Research Semester

Departmental News

Posted:  Feb 24, 2020 - 12:00pm


The Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico is pleased to announcement that it will again partner with Chaco Culture National Historic Park to offer our Chaco Research Semester immersion course during the Fall of 2020. This program provides student participants with the unique opportunity to engage deeply with current archaeological research at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, centered on a five-week field school held in the canyon. Our program is designed to give students a systematic educational experience that integrates research design, advanced artifact and data analysis, fieldwork, subsequent report writing, research ethics and service learning. The framework of the course is built on students learning how research problems are developed, data recovery strategies implemented, and the results interpreted. The field school component (Anthropology 375/575) meets federal guidelines for field school qualification.

The Chaco Research Semester is directed by Professors W. H. Wills and Hannah Mattson. There will be two experienced Graduate Teaching Assistants at the field school and several UNM graduate students and faculty members with ongoing research in Chaco will introduce students to innovative analytical methods, including remote sensing, geochemistry and zooarchaeology. Enrollment is limited to 13 students, giving us an excellent staff-student ratio that ensures close individual attention.

The semester is divided into three parts. The first consists of formal classroom preparation on the UNM Main Campus (Anthropology 473/573: Advanced Lab Methods and Anthropology and 420/570: Topics in Chaco Archaeology) from August 17th to September 25th. Part 2 is the field school, which takes place in Chaco from September 28th to November 6th (or possibly later depending on the weather). After the field school, classwork resumes on Main Campus, with students completing individual research projects on the materials collected during the field school, as well as writing a term paper dealing with explanatory problems in Chaco research.

  • Undergraduate students must register in four co-requisite courses: Anth 473, Anth 420, Anth 375, and Anth 399 (2 credits).
  • Graduate students must register in three co-requisite courses: Anth 573, Anth 570, and Anth 575.
  • Additional course fees will also apply (typically $800-1000).

UNM provides transportation to and from Chaco Canyon from Main Campus during the field school, as well as food and housing in the Park. Students provide their own camping gear but are located in an improved campground in the Park’s residential area, which includes a kitchen and shower house. The field school utilizes a large and very comfortable yurt for laboratory work and evening lectures. A typical week at the field school is from Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon, with Saturdays off. Students may bring their own vehicles or use UNM transportation. A typical day begins with 6 am breakfast, fieldwork from 7 am to 3 pm, followed by artifact check-in until 4:30 pm, then lab or lecture from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Enrollment is by application and is limited to 13 students. For best consideration please apply as soon as possible.

Applications will be accepted until the class is filled