Topic ID #35146 - posted 3/2/2015 8:42 AM

2015 Lower Pecos Canyonlands Archaeological Field School


Archaeology Field School Description

Join Dr. Stephen Black and ENC Project Archaeologist Charles Koenig for a month of hands-on training in archaeological field methods in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of southwest Texas, a remote area with an unparalleled 13,000 year record of hunter-gatherer life found in rockshelters with extraordinary organic preservation and vivid rock art, as well as an intriguing and little-known array of settlement features. The field school will be based at the SHUMLA campus, which is located 50 miles west of Del Rio, Texas, within the Lower Pecos River Region. 

The field school will be focused on developing the essential research skills required in traditional archaeology. The field research will take place in and around Eagle Nest Canyon (ENC). This mile-long box canyon tributary of the Rio Grande near Langtry, Texas houses several well-known sites, such as Bonfire Shelter and Eagle Cave. The Ancient Southwest Texas (ASWT) project of Texas State is carrying a multiyear research program in the canyon (see Field school investigations will include work in a smaller rockshelter within the canyon and in a plant baking facility (burned rock midden) at the head of the canyon.

-Students will learn how to establish a research design and data collection protocols.
-Students will learn field methods for documenting and sampling archaeological sites and deposits, including digital photography, 3D mapping, Structure from Motion Photogrammetry, laying out excavation units, hand excavation using arbitrary and natural layers, and stratigraphic profiling.
-Students will learn laboratory procedures, record-keeping, cataloging, and records curation
-Students will compare and contrast current theories regarding natural and cultural formation processes.
-Student will become familiar with the foraging adaptation, hunter-gatherer belief systems, and the archaeology of the Lower Pecos region.
-Students will have prepared a detailed field journal for future reference and research ideas.


Field School Website: 

Dates: June 1, 2015 – July 1, 2015

Tuition: $1432.08 (6 credit hours)

Affiliation (Sponsoring University): Texas State University

Other Fees: Program Fee = $1200 (separate from tuition, pays room and board); Application Fee=$25

Work Week: Monday-Saturday, Sundays off

Housing: Students will stay at the SHUMLA campus on a large ranch located on the lower Pecos River. Accommodations include tent camping and bunkhouse facilities. All meals provided. Eagle Nest Canyon is a 15 minute drive from camp. Short hikes required to get to work sites.

Setting: Most days in June will be hot and dry, with lower humidity and less rain than the eastern United States. Survey days, site tours, and canyonland exploration will involve hikes through steep, rugged terrain. We will take appropriate precautions including proper sun protection, hydration, hiking attire, pacing, and taking advantage of the early morning hours. Still, not for the faint-hearted.

Transportation: Travel provided from San Marcos, Texas

Special Activities: Guest lecturers including geoarchaeologists, rock art specialists, paleoethnobotanists, and others will visit throughout the session. Experimental archaeology and learning about primitive technology is a frequent past time.

Contact: Dr. Stephen Black –

Recommended Readings:

- (project blog)

- (background of region)



Visit our Employment Network websites: - - For information on advertising on this website, contact