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Cultural Ranger & Archaeology Field School, southwest USA

September 4th - 30th, 2019

Applied Archaeology International, in partnership with Southern Ute Education, Hopi Cultural Preservation, Alpine Archaeological Consultants and the Colorado Department of Transportation, is pleased to announce a month-long, intensive field school in archaeology, heritage preservation, and cultural heritage management.

This program will involve three core projects:

1) Session 1 involves archaeological field methods training as part of an integrated Cultural Resource Management (CRM) investigation of a cultural site complex, south of Durango, Colorado.

2) Session 2 will work under the direction of Hopi Elders and Cultural Preservation officers to carry out a cultural health assessment and on-ground actions to restore a sacred freshwater spring in Hopi.

3) Session 3 will focus on a site stabilization project of a cultural place complex in Hopi, involving the use of site survey, assessment and GPR mapping to develop a site plan, and then on-ground actions, under cultural leadership, to protect the ancestral Hopi Pueblo site.

The field school is culturally-guided, project-focused, action driven. We will visit some of the most iconic archaeological and cultural places of the Four Corners, including Canyons of the Ancients, Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon.

In addition to core archaeological survey, mapping and excavation skills, this field school program takes the team through what it means to be a cultural heritage ranger in the Four Corners, and is based on an international model; which involves:

· Learning, understanding and following cultural protocols

· Place-name mapping and cultural surveys

· Anthropological surveys

· Archaeological surveys, mapping, and excavation field skills

· Archaeological curation methods

· GIS, data management, and mapping

· Photography, 3D models, and drone operations

· Community and applied archaeology

· Cultural plant surveys and traditional subsistence

· Ceramic artifact identification workshops

· Spiritual ecology

· Flint-knapping workshop, making a bow, and stone artifact analysis

· On-ground heritage protection and management projects

Applied Archaeology is available to assist in developing your experience and organize and plan the program to meet your specific interests. We can also assist to arrange high school or college credit for your participation.

How it Works

In addition to the engagement of Elders and project partners, Applied Archaeology has a small coordination team of community archaeologists and heritage preservationists. This includes:

  • Muz Pinnecoose, Ute Elder, craftsman, mentor

  • David Guilfoyle, Australian-US archaeologist (see info below)

  • Genevieve Carey, University of Montana

  • Robert Bearheart, archaeologist, Ojibwa Tribal member, Salish-Kootenai College

  • Georgiana Pongyesva, Hopi Cultural Preservation

  • Micah Odoms, Anthropology Graduate, Fort Lewis College

  • Cameron Weaver, Southern Ute/Navajo Tribal member, Archaeological Field Tech

  • Zac 'Waalitj' Webb, Chairperson, Undalup Association (Wadandi, SW Australia)

This coordination team will work with a team of field school participants as one crew, and carry out a range of activities with support from the Alpine Archaeological Consultants crews. The team will participate in orientation and training sessions on each of the themes listed above and then participate in practical field projects that apply these themes to real-world, on-ground projects. The program will be flexible to focus on individual interests and will strive to integrate with local cultural protocols and requirements; at all times.

Session 1: The US 550 Project?

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) proposes to realign the interchange between U.S. Highway 550 and its present intersection with U.S. Highway 160, south of Durango in La Plata County, Colorado.

CDOT has hired Alpine to mitigate impacts from this planned highway construction to seven National Register of Historic Places-eligible prehistoric sites that lie partially or entirely within the project corridor. At present, the evidence suggests that the project sites solely represent Ancestral Puebloan occupations dating from the Basketmaker III to the Pueblo II periods, with the most intensive occupations likely occurring during the Pueblo I period, roughly A.D. 750–900.

Chet Walker of Archaeo-Geophysical Associates, LLC conducts ground-penetrating radar (GPR) during Alpine's excavations in southwest Colorado (photo: Alpine Archaeological Consultants.

The archaeological work will consist of (data recovery) excavations and public outreach. Alpine will conduct extensive excavations at the parts of the sites within the project corridor and plans to field multiple crews of archaeologists to complete this work, before November 2018.

The Applied Archaeology team will work with the field school participants and study about this project, get first-hand field experience, integrate and share perspectives with the archaeological field crews, and will work to document cultural values to the undertaking, through cultural surveys and work with Elders.

The collaboration will explore the value of integrating cultural science and archaeological science. For instance, archaeologists can find evidence of subsistence strategies from botanical remains, faunal remains, processing tools, and settlement patterns and site types, like field houses and villages in Pueblo I. The reconstruction of prehistoric diets and subsistence practices, therefore, will be a major goal of the site excavations and intertwined with other areas of research. This will also involve ethno-botanical studies led by the cultural ranger team - linking in aspects of the complex knowledge systems of Elders, where appropriate.

Session 2: Hopi Spring Restoration

This is an ongoing community project that explores cultural ways of managing water and land. We will work under the direction of Hopi Cultural Preservation and Elders to monitor the health of the spring, carry out weed control actions, learn about water quality testing, and construct and repair check dams that help protect the spring and associated canyon.

This short video provides the background to this project and the tasks that will we undertake as part of Stage 2 of this heritage preservation project:

Session 3: Ancestral Site Stabilization Project

A well-defined cultural complex lies within a state highway road reserve in Hopi. An eroded sandstone structure resembling a kiva (or possibly small curved room) was identified with Hopi Cultural Preservation staff and Applied Archaeology in early 2019. The site complex appears to consist of a traditional kiva and associated rooms and plaza areas. An archaeological investigation of this complex would contribute much to our knowledge of early Hopi settlement of this area and methods of heritage preservation. At the same time, a collaborative project will provide local Hopi with opportunities for fieldwork experience in archaeology and heritage preservation.

On-ground work for this project will include:

  • Mapping and recording the cultural features

  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey and subsurface site plan

  • Soil chemistry analysis from sediment samples

  • Understanding the local site formation processes and geomorphology

  • Protecting and managing sensitive cultural features under threat from erosion

  • Heritage Protection with Tribal Elders and Youth

  • Work-shopping a management plan with Elders, Youth, archaeologists and community.

Travel, accommodations and Meals

For those out-of-state or coming from overseas, you are required to make your own way to Durango, Colorado by September 3rd, 2019. Our team will pick you up that day and then from there, all accommodations, meals and transport will be provided. You will be dropped back in Durango, Colorado on the evening of September 30th.

Several paid internships will be provided for tribal members and includes accommodations and meals (per diem). Allowances for out-of-pockets expenses will also be provided (eg. mileage).

Registration Criteria and Processes

To register your interest, contact David Guilfoyle (see below). We will work together to arrange the registration process that remains flexible to accommodate individual needs.

No experience is necessary, but the field school is restricted to those over 18. Preference will be given to those able to acquire letters of support/recommendation from Elders or Tribal cultural preservation staff; as this year is focused on outreach and engagement, and collaborative partnerships.

Certificate of Participation and Ongoing Support

Each participant will receive a Certificate of Participation outlining the range of skills and experiences that will assist with developing your CV and employment opportunities. For those aiming to receive college credit for their participating, the coordinators will work with you and your supervisor(s) to arrange. Our team will also provide ongoing support with our vast networks.

Work Plan Themes

1 Orientation and Training

Group meetings; reviewing the schedule; understanding our shared cultural protocols; introduction to cultural histories; site visits; workshops at cultural centers.

2 Cultural Landscapes and Cultural Mapping

Understanding cultural landscapes; archaeological perspectives; cultural perspectives. Theory and method of cultural landscape management and cultural mapping; practical cultural mapping project.

3 Legislation and procedures: Understanding the Section 106 process

Workshops and group discussions; Section 106 applied: the US 550 Highway Phase III mitigation project; Federal and state laws; SHPO and THPOs structures and processes; workshops on collaborative CRM.

4 Archaeological Field Methods 1

Methods of archaeological survey, mapping and site recording.

5 Archaeological Field Methods 2

Methods of archaeological excavation and field curation/analysis

6 Archaeological Field Methods 3

GIS, drone mapping and photogrammetry, 3D models

7 Stone artifact analysis and Flint-Knapping

You will underatke training in methods of artifact analysis and techniques of flint-knapping delivered by a local Elder and master craftsman. This will also involve a traditional bow making workshop.

8 Cultural Plant Surveys

Methods of plant identification and recording; ethno-botanical surveys; developing a cultural plant guide related to the US 550 mitigation project. Integrating results with the archaeological excavation data.

9 Cultural health of waterways and springs

Learning aspects of the sacred management of water; cultural and technical water quality assessments; spring restoration under cultural leadership.

10 Cultural Preservation and Management Planning

Developing a preservation plan; permits and approvals (including cultural approvals); undertaking a practical on-ground heritage site preservation project. Development of a heritage management plan (site and landscape level).

In addition to these core themes and tasks, the team will participate in special workshops and training sessions, visit cultural places, and work on several cultural camps and programs as determined by Tribal partners. Opportunities for full-time work placement on CRM projects into 2020 will be offered to those who are interested and/or excel in the field school program.

- Opportunities for continuing your internships to Australia, New Zealand and Alaska are also available -

For More Information


David R. Guilfoyle

Applied Archaeology International

  • Associate, Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management (UWA)

  • Associate, Western Australian Museum

  • Associate, Museum of the North, University of Alaska (Fairbanks)

Cell: (1) 970-275-9436



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