Contact: Richard Chapman, 277-5853
Connie Noel, 291-8320
Michael Padilla, 277-1816

June 26, 2001

UNM Maxwell Museum teams up with Albuquerque Academy for summer field school

The University of New Mexico Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and the Albuquerque Academy are participating in a six-week summer field school archeology program.

The goal of the program is to introduce students to archeology and to teach them about the environment and ecology. Twelve students from the Albuquerque Academy, grades 6th through 9th, are participating in a full-blown archeology dig and are learning all aspects of archeology from excavating to taking notes to laboratory analysis. The students are led by UNM archeologists and by Albuquerque Academy instructors.

Richard Chapman, director of the Office of Contract Archeology at UNM and liason for the program, said the site of the program is a late archaic campsite, probably inhabited intermittently on a seasonal basis between 1000 BC and 500 AD by hunter-gatherers.

Chapman said predominant features at the site are several roasting pits, one of which was excavated last year. The site is on private land owned by the Albuquerque Academy on the West Mesa near the Hawk National Guard headquarters.

“One reason the Academy is using the site for their field school class is that features at the site are being destroyed by arroyo cuts—thus the Academy excavations are helping retrieve information about the prehistoric occupation before it washes away,” Chapman said.

Connie Noel, an instructor from Albuquerque Academy and a leader for the program, said the students are exposed to archeology and learn the importance of understanding prehistoric cultures. She said one of the most important aspects of the project is that the students are being exposed to the culture of the region.

“We have a very productive site,” Noel said. “The students have found pieces of stone tool making.

“One thing that the students have learned is that archeology is hard work,” she said, adding that it’s been hot but the students have been able to stay enthusiastic.

On July 6, the students will be at the Maxwell Museum to study forensic archaeology. The program runs through July 13.

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