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Field Schools

The Verde Valley Archaeology Center has held summer archaeology excavation field schools at the Champagne Springs or Mitchell Springs sites in Colorado since 2011.

Within the practice of excavation, numerous specialized techniques are available for use, and each dig will have its particular features, that will determine the correct approach. Resources and other practical issues do not allow us to carry out excavations whenever and wherever we choose. These constraints mean many known sites have been deliberately left unexcavated. This is with the intention of preserving them for future generations as well as recognizing the role they serve in the communities that live near them. In some cases it is also hoped that improvements in technology will enable them to be re-examined at a later date, with more fruitful results. Excavation involves the recovery of several types of data from a place where there is evidence for past human activity. These data include artifacts (objects made or modified by humans), features (modifications to the site itself such as post molds, burials, and hearths), and ecofacts (evidence for the local environment and resources being used such as snail shells, seeds, and butchered bones).

The Center may periodically participate in excavations in the Verde Valley. These often are limited to members who have gone through training. Excavation classes are held as needed.

The Colorado field schools are open to all members. No experience is necessary. Participants are paired with someone with experience. All materials will be supplied, unless you have your own that you would like to bring. You should be in good health as the activity is mildly strenuous. The weather can be hot, in the high 80's, so appropriate clothing, sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water is a must. Lodging can be had at Dove Creek, CO or Monticello, Utah, 25 miles away. Dry camping is available at the site. Porta-potties and potable water is made available at the site. This can be a great experience for those who have never had the experience to excavate. You will learn that there is more to it then just digging. Field Schools are announced on the Calendar of Events page when a field school session is open.

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