Dig Deeper into Archaeology with Crow Canyon
At the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, visitors don’t just learn about archaeology—they do it!
Southwestern Colorado is rich in archaeological heritage, from the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park to backcountry sites protected by Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. For visitors who are fascinated by archaeology and the American Indian past, Crow Canyon offers something unique: the opportunity to pick up a trowel and join the Center’s professional archaeologists on a dig.
For more than 30 years, scientists at this not-for-profit organization have been studying the history of the ancestral Pueblo Indians (Anasazi) of the Mesa Verde region. Crow Canyon welcomes public participation and support. Over the years, hundreds of “citizen scientists” have come to Cortez to work alongside the professionals. Many of them return year after year.
Crow Canyon archaeologists are currently excavating sites that date from the Basketmaker III through Pueblo III periods (A.D. 500–1280). Here’s how you can get involved:
Archaeology Research Program You’ll learn proper excavation techniques, then work alongside Crow Canyon archaeologists in the field. You’ll also spend time in the lab, analyzing artifacts discovered during recent excavations. The Archaeology Research Program is offered every year, with five sessions available from June through October.
Archaeology Lab Program. Did you know that for every day an archaeologist spends in the field, at least four days are required in the lab? During Crow Canyon’s lab program, citizen scientists work closely with the Center’s lab archaeologists, helping to wash and catalog ancient artifacts such as pottery and stone tools. The Archaeology Lab Program is offered every October.
Crow Canyon is located on a 170-acre campus outside Cortez. Your archaeology vacation includes housing in Navajo-style log cabins (hogans) and delicious meals at the Center’s lodge. There’s also a stimulating schedule of evening lectures. Program tuition helps support the Center’s mission of archaeological research, education, and partnerships with American Indians.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Photos courtesy Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.