Archaeology and the Public: Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

afarensis asks “where are the children?” in the context of where are they in the archaeological record. In another context, I can answer that they’re at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, learning about science and archaeology. Look below the fold to get the full scoop.

A private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Crow Canyon “is dedicated to understanding, teaching, and preserving the rich history of the ancestral Pueblo Indians (also called the Anasazi) who inhabited the canyons and mesas of the Mesa Verde region more than 700 years ago.” The center is located near Cortez, Colorado and has on-campus education programs where students of all ages can participate in field and laboratory research as well as general education on topics of archaeology and science.

Vila Schwindt has a brief article in the Cortez Journal that describes the center and some of the curricula available as relayed to her by Lew Mathis, of the program’s educators.

Crow Canyon’s program starts with a general introduction to the chronology of cultures in the Southwest.

It’s hands-on stuff where they’re looking at artifacts and making comparisons between a collection from a certain period to a later period, and as the week progresses, it goes into greater detail.

The very first thing students do is meet the staff. Then they go with their educator and start either “Windows into the Past” for elementary students, or “Inquiries into the Past” for older and adult students.

Crow Canyon has courses for kids and educators alike designed to give kids an idea what archaeology might be like as a career through a three-week camp, and to give teachers a valuable experience in understanding the Pueblo Indian culture that they’ll be able to share with their students.

In addition, Crow Canyon hosts a variety of summer camps for various age-groups, programs for school groups, day tours, and even domestic and international archaeology trips to destinations like Chaco Canyon and Eygpt!

I wish I would have discovered this place years ago! At least I have a good idea for a family vacation or future summer camp for my daughter once she’s of age.

I’ll be adding more “Archaeology and the Public” in the future, so keep an eye on that label in the side bar.


  1. No problem! I found out about Crow Canyon through the online copy of the newspaper article I cited. Google News returned it in a search and I was immediately impressed! I’m envious of your job 🙂

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