Barnard's Archaeological Field School

 

Participate in summer archaeological research in New Mexico!

The Barnard Department of Anthropology is pleased to announce two new summer courses, designed to provide students with training in archaeological methods while studying the rich history of indigenous and colonial communties of the American Southwest. Work alongside Prof. Fowles and a staff of specialists in beautiful northern New Mexico and take part in the latest archaeological discoveries...

 

ANTH BC2011 (Field Methods in Archaeology)
  • June 5 to July 3, 2018
  • 4 credits
  • Fulfills: Lab Science requirement (Barnard Foundations)
  • Application Deadline: April 15 (apply here)
ANTH BC2012 (Laboratory Methods in Archaeology)
  • July 5 to August 2, 2018
  • 4 credits
  • Fulfills: Lab Science requirement (Barnard Foundations)
  • Application Deadline: April 15 (apply here)

 

 


ANTH BC2011 (Field Methods in Archaeology)

Instructors:

Prof. Severin Fowles (Barnard College), primary instructor

Dr. Michael Adler (Southern Methodist University), co-P.I.

Dr. Lindsay Montgomery (University of Arizona), co-P.I.

Richard Mermejo (War Chief, Picuris Pueblo), co-P.I.

Course Description:

Only the most recent chapters of the past are able to be studied using traditional historiographical methods focused on archives of textual documents. How, then, are we to analyze the deep history of human experiences prior to the written word? And even when textual archives do survive from a given historical period, these archives are typically biased toward the perspectives of those in power. How, then, are we to undertake analyses of the past that take into account the lives and experiences of all of society’s members, including the poor, the working class, the colonized, and others whose voices appear far less frequently in historical documents?

“Field Methods in Archaeology” is a 4-week, intensive introduction to the key methods of archaeological fieldwork through participation in an ongoing research program in northern New Mexico. Students live and work in an immersive research setting alongside professional archaeologists, gaining training in survey, excavation, and artifact analysis while also being introduced to larger questions of research design, archaeological interpretation, and the ethical and political complexities of fieldwork. The research design and field sites vary each season (see below). And while the course only demands participation in the four weeks of fieldwork and completion of the assignments therein, all students are encouraged to develop specialized research projects to be subsequently pursued either (1) in the “Laboratory Methods in Archaeology” course (ANTH BC2012), which convenes in New Mexico immediately after the field methods course, (2) in the “American Material Culture” seminar (ANTH UN3723), which convenes every other fall on Barnard’s campus, (3) through senior thesis projects, or (4) through a presentation at the national Society for American Archaeology meetings.

2018 Field Season Research Plans:

The 2018 summer field season advances the project’s investigation of 17th, 18th, and 19th century village life among both indigenous and settler colonial communities on the northern frontier of the Spanish empire. Fieldwork will convene in two neighboring areas. The first is the historic plaza of what is today the village of Dixon, NM. While Dixon was officially established as a center of a Spanish land grant in 1725, our prior research has documented the presence of well-stratified midden (trash) deposits adjacent to the plaza that extend back to the late 17th century. Our goal will be to conduct excavations within this midden area to recover evidence of shifting patterns of Hispano food consumption, craft production, trade, and landscape use during the early colonial period. The second research area is the contemporary tribal reservation of Picuris Pueblo, whose ancestors have been living at the same site for over a millennium. Through a formal collaboration between the Picuris Nation, Barnard College, Southern Methodist University and the University of Arizona, we have been granted permission to undertake pedestrian and geophysical survey on tribal lands to document the extensive system of agricultural fields surrounding the pueblo as well as the many historic camps on the community’s periphery, the latter of which include traces of former visits by Jicarilla Apache traders. These archaeological features are key to understanding the nature and extent of the local economy at Picuris during the colonial era. Comparisons between the remains at Picuris and those at nearby Dixon will permit us to assess the wider nature of inter-community relationships as the residents of colonial New Mexico developed economies around newly introduced domesticates (particularly sheep, goat, cattle, horses, wheat and fruit trees), newly expanded trade networks, and newly transformed landscapes.

Where and When:

The field program is based in the midst of the beautiful and historic community of Dixon in northern New Mexico, just one mile from the Rio Grande with a view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Students are housed in an adobe residence in the center of the village, where they will have daily access to a General Store, Library, Post Office, and Cafe. Fieldwork and field trips during the course provide an opportunity to explore many historically significant sites throughout northern New Mexico. Participants should arrive at the Albuquerque International Airport before 2:30 pm on June 5 and depart after 11 am on July 3.

Learning Outcomes: Students who successfully complete this course will be able to...

  • design and conduct pedestrian surveys.
  • create maps of archaeological sites using tape-and-compass, GPS, and laser transit techniques.
  • incorporate remote sensing methods into a research design, based on participation in field exercises employing either ground-penetrating radar, resistivity, magnetic gradiometry, and/or photogrammetry using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
  • conduct archaeological excavations, including the establishment of excavation units, excavation in both arbitrary and natural levels, documentation of horizontal exposures as well as stratigraphic profiles, and collection of special samples (e.g., flotation, pollen, phytolith and radiocarbon samples).
  • conduct responsible consultations with members of descendant communities, aware of the ethical and legal complexities involved.
  • compose a professional archaeological report documenting survey and excavation activities.

Eligibility:

An interest in the past and its remains in the present is the only prerequisite. No prior experience in archaeology or anthropology is necessary. Enrollment in ANTH BC2011 is limited to 10 students, and preference is given to Archaeology majors from Barnard College and Columbia University as well as to individuals of Native American descent, regardless of their institutional affiliation. Students from institutions other than Barnard or Columbia should contact Prof. Fowles <sfowles@barnard.edu> to determine if spaces are available before applying to the program.

Costs and Financial Support:

  • Tuition: $5,268 (4 credits), TUITION ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE (see below)
  • Housing and Meals: $960
  • Administrative fee (only for non-Barnard/Columbia students): $150

Barnard has significant funds set aside for need-based financial aid, available to Barnard students only; see the application form for details. All students who apply from both Barnard and Columbia will also be immediately considered for the Barnard Archaeology Fellowship, which provides between $1,000-$2,000 in course subsidies to between 5-7 members of the field program each year. (Applicants to the field program do not need to separately apply for either financial aid or the Barnard Archaeology Fellowship.) Students from other colleges should check with their home institutions about financial aid. 

Barnard and Columbia students may also apply for the following merit-based grants and fellowships to help cover the costs of participation:

  • Robert Stigler Fund for Archaeological Research: typically provides $500 to support first-time field experiences. Available to undergraduates at Barnard or Columbia. Contact Prof. Fowles for details. (Deadline: April 30, 2018)
  • Barnard Anthropology Fieldwork Grant: provides a limited number of students with support for summer research projects (typically $500-$1,000). Available to Barnard Anthropology majors. Contact Prof. Fowles for details. (Deadline: April 20, 2018)
  • Ella Deloria Undergraduate Research Fellowship: provides a limited number of students with support for summer research projects (typically less than $2,000). Available to Columbia Anthropology majors. See http://anthropology.columbia.edu/undergraduate-research-fellowships (Deadline: TBA)
  • Tow Summer Research Fellowship: provides a limited number of students with support for senior thesis research projects (fellowships range from $1,000 to $4,000). This is a competitive fellowship available to Barnard juniors engaged in senior thesis research. Students should contact the Dean Leong, the junior class dean, during the fall semester to express interest. (Deadline: March 2, 2018)

 


ANTH BC2012 (Laboratory Methods in Archaeology)

Instructors:

Prof. Severin Fowles (Barnard College), primary instructor

Dr. Arlene Rosen (U.T. Austin), geoarchaeology and phytolith specialist

Dr. Adam Watson (American Museum of Natural History), zooarchaeology specialist

Course Description:

Only the most recent chapters of the past are able to be studied using traditional historiographical methods focused on archives of textual documents. How, then, are we to analyze the deep history of human experiences prior to the written word? And even when textual archives do survive from a given historical period, these archives are typically biased toward the perspectives of those in power. How, then, are we to undertake analyses of the past that take into account the lives and experiences of all of society’s members, including the poor, the working class, the colonized, and others whose voices appear far less frequently in historical documents?

“Laboratory Methods in Archaeology” is a 4-week, intensive introduction to the analysis of archaeological artifacts and samples in which we explore how the organic and inorganic remains from archaeological sites can be used to build rigorous claims about the human past. Students live and work in an immersive research setting, examining materials excavated from nearby archaeological sites as well as geological and biological settings sampled as part of the course. Specialized laboratory modules focus on the analysis of animal bone, botanical remains, ceramics, and chipped stone artifacts.

The Ethics of Archaeological Research:

As participants in a program focused on the study of the material heritage of Indigenous, Hispanic American, and Anglo American communities in New Mexico, students should maintain a continuously respectful stance towards both the archaeological remains and those whose identities are linked to them. This program has emerged through long-term consultations and collaborations with descendent communities and will continue to respond and evolve—often, during the middle of the field season—to the wishes and requests of these communities.

Where and When:

The course will be held in the midst of the beautiful SMU-in-Taos campus, just south of Taos, New Mexico. Centered on the reconstructed buildings of an 1850s American cantonment, SMU-in-Taos includes a dedicated archaeology laboratory, computer center, library, and a collections facility with hundreds of thousands of excavated objects spanning the past five millennia of Southwestern history. Students will reside on the campus’s campground (with adjacent shower and bathroom facilities), share meals at the campus’s cafeteria, and have access to all campus resources. For more information on SMU-in-Taos, see https://www.smu.edu/Taos/Facilities .

Participants should arrange to arrive at the Albuquerque International Airport before 2:30 pm on July 5 and depart after 12 noon on August 2.

Special Events: Daily laboratory studies will be supplemented by a series of special events, including...

  • July 6: Tour of Pot Creek Pueblo and Picuris Pueblo
  • July 4: Tour of Mesa Prieta Rock Art Site and Tsankawi Pueblo
  • July 25: Santiago Feast Day and Corn Dance at Taos Pueblo
  • July 28-29: Overnight trip to Chaco Canyon

Learning Outcomes: Students who successfully complete this course will be able to...

  • identify the morphology, geology, and use-wear of chipped stone artifacts from archaeological sites.
  • identify the form, surface treatment, paste, and mineral inclusions of ceramic artifacts from archaeological sites.
  • undertake flotation to recover macrobotanical samples from archaeological sites and identify the wood charcoal and seeds therein to the genus level.
  • identify the taxa, skeletal element, health, and taphonomy of faunal remains from archaeological sites.
  • analyze assemblages of chipped stone, ceramic, macrobotantical, and faunal artifacts to build datasets that can be mobilized to make rigorous claims about human behavior in the past.

Eligibility:

An interest in the past and its remains in the present is the only prerequisite. No prior experience in archaeology or anthropology is necessary. Enrollment in ANTH BC2012 is limited to 20 students, and preference is given to Archaeology majors from Barnard College and Columbia University as well as to individuals of Native American descent, regardless of their institutional affiliation. Students from institutions other than Barnard or Columbia should contact Prof. Fowles <sfowles@barnard.edu> to determine if spaces are available before applying to the program.

Costs and Financial Support:

  • Tuition: $5,268 (4 credits), TUITION ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE (see below)
  • Housing and Meals: $1,200
  • Administrative fee (only for non-Barnard/Columbia students): $150

Barnard has significant funds set aside for need-based financial aid, available to Barnard students only; see the application form for details. All students who apply from both Barnard and Columbia will also be immediately considered for the Barnard Archaeology Fellowship, which provides between $1,000-$2,000 in course subsidies to between 5-7 members of the field program each year. (Applicants to the field program do not need to separately apply for either financial aid or the Barnard Archaeology Fellowship.) Students from other colleges should check with their home institutions about financial aid. 

Barnard and Columbia students may also apply for the following merit-based grants and fellowships to help cover the costs of participation:

  • Robert Stigler Fund for Archaeological Research: typically provides $500 to support first-time field experiences. Available to undergraduates at Barnard or Columbia. Contact Prof. Fowles for details. (Deadline: April 30, 2018)
  • Barnard Anthropology Fieldwork Grant: provides a limited number of students with support for summer research projects (typically $500-$1,000). Available to Barnard Anthropology majors. Contact Prof. Fowles for details. (Deadline: April 20, 2018)
  • Ella Deloria Undergraduate Research Fellowship: provides a limited number of students with support for summer research projects (typically less than $2,500). Available to Columbia Anthropology majors. See http://anthropology.columbia.edu/undergraduate-research-fellowships (Deadline: TBA)
  • Tow Summer Research Fellowship: provides a limited number of students with support for senior thesis research projects (fellowships range from $1,000 to $4,000). This is a competitive fellowship available to Barnard juniors engaged in senior thesis research. Students should contact the Dean Leong, the junior class dean, during the fall semester to express interest. (Deadline: March 2, 2018)
 

Photos from the field...