Crow Canyon Announces October Archaeology Lab

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Colorado has announced a week-long archaeology lab, to be offered October 1–7, 2017.

For every day an archaeologist spends in the field, at least four days are required in the laboratory. During a typical field season, thousands of artifacts and samples come into Crow Canyon’s lab. The story of the past begins to come together only when these artifacts and samples are carefully processed and studied.

In our lab program, you can help us analyze artifacts from recent excavations at sites that date from the Basketmaker III through Pueblo III periods (A.D. 500–1280).


  • Learn archaeological lab procedures — then wash and catalog artifacts from Crow Canyon’s excavations.
  • Analyze pottery and stone artifacts, assist with special analyses such as flotation, and prepare artifacts for permanent curation.
  • Learn what artifact analysis reveals about the lives of the ancestral Pueblo Indians of the Mesa Verde region.
  • Enjoy evening talks on current topics in Southwestern archaeology.

Daily Schedule
Breakfast 7:30–8:15am
Morning activity 8:30am–noon
Lunch noon–12:45pm.
Afternoon activity 1:30–about 4:30pm
Dinner 5:30–6:15pm
Evening program begins 6:30pm

The lab activity level is light and includes sitting, working at a computer, standing, lifting light objects, and using laboratory tools. If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to participate in this program, please call one of our sales and enrollment specialists at 800.422.8975, ext. 451.

Local Environment, Climate, and Weather
Crow Canyon is located in the high desert, where deep sandstone canyons dissect pinyon-, juniper-, and sage-covered plains, all against the distant backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. The campus and excavation site are located at an elevation of 6200 feet; the elevation of Mesa National Park ranges from 7000 to 8500 feet.

The Colorado sun is strong (ultraviolet exposure increases about 4 percent for every 1000 feet above sea level), and the air is generally very dry. In summer, daytime temperatures are usually in the mid-80s to low 90s, but occasionally reach triple digits. Nighttime temperatures can drop to around 50◦F. In July and August (our monsoon season), it is not uncommon to get afternoon thunderstorms. The best precaution for anyone not accustomed to both the dry climate and the high elevation is to drink plenty of water. We recommend that program participants drink at least two quarts of water per day, every day, while here. In addition, pre-hydration — drinking plenty of water for a few days before leaving home — may help the body acclimate more quickly. Also, sunscreen is a must!

Kari SchleherKari Schleher (Ph.D., Anthropology, University of New Mexico) is Crow Canyon’s lab manager. She teaches artifact analysis to students and adults in Crow Canyon programs. Her specialty is the analysis and interpretation of Pueblo pottery; she is particularly interested in production technology and what pottery can tell us about connections between different groups of people who lived in the past.

Jamie Merewether (B.A., Anthropology, University of Colorado) is Crow Canyon’s collections manager in the lab. She has worked in Crow Canyon’s research laboratory since 1997; before that, she gained extensive survey, excavation, and laboratory experience throughout the West. As collections manager, Jamie is responsible for keeping track of the thousands of artifacts and samples that come in from the field every year, making sure they are inventoried, cataloged, and analyzed correctly; she also manages the maps, photos, and other field documentation related to Crow Canyon excavations.

Kate HughesKate Hughes (M.A., Applied Anthropology, Northern Arizona University) began working in Crow Canyon’s lab in 2015. As laboratory education coordinator, she develops and teaches lab education programs, processes and analyzes artifacts, and assists with curation concerns. She also serves as Crow Canyon’s internship coordinator. A Crow Canyon lab intern in 2006, Kate has since worked for cultural resource management companies in the Four Corners region and in the Great Basin.

The mission of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is to empower present and future generations by making the human past accessible and relevant through archaeological research, experiential education, and American Indian knowledge.

Crow Canyon is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.


Special to the Post

The Pagosa Daily Post welcomes submissions, photos, letters and videos from people who love Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Call 970-236-6116 or email