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NMSU Archaeological Field School

Every summer, the anthropology department offers a 6-week archaeological field school. The primary goal of this field school is to train students in archaeological field methods by having them participate in active, ongoing field research programs in the Southwest. Archaeological field training is essential for any student who hopes to gain professional employment in archaeology. But, our field school isn't just for future professionals--it's also a wonderful opportunity for anyone who wants to learn more about the archaeology of this region by participating in a real dig!

2021 Field Season--application period CLOSED

When: May 23–July 3, 2021

Where: Fieldwork will take place at two different project locations in New Mexico: 1) the Twin Pines Village site (dating AD 550–750 and AD 1000–1130), located on the Aldo Leopald Wilderness portion of the Gila National Forest, and 2) sites associated with the the Cañon de Carnue Land Grant (dating AD 1760–present), located east of Albuquerque. 

What: Students will receive 6 weeks of training in archaeological field methods, including limited survey, manual and digital mapping, excavation, feature documentation, artifact processing, and artifact analysis. We will stay at base camps for 3 weeks at each project location, so participants must be prepared for camping and for rigorous outdoor activity including walking, climbing, carrying equipment, and digging. If conditions allow, we will also take several short field trips to local sites relevant to both projects.

Covid-19 Plan: NMSU and field school staff continue to monitor the Covid-19 pandemic, and the safety of our students, staff, and communities is very important to us. We have developed a Safety Plan for this field program, and we will continue to revise this plan as needed in order to comply with current university, state, and federal recommendations and policies. At present, we plan to offer the 2021 field school with these additional safety measures in place. If conditions change such that we are no longer able to offer this program safely, we will terminate the field program and promptly notify all applicants. [Also, a quick disclaimer: all photographs featured on this webpage were taken in pre-Covid times and thus may not feature masks, social distancing, or other Covid-19 mitigation measures.]

Course Options: The field school is an intensive 6-week field-based course, for which all students will earn 6 credit hours. Students can apply for admission to the field school through one of the following course options:

  • ANTH 388: Archaeological Field School. No prerequisites.
  • ANTH 488: Advanced Archaeological Field School. Prerequisite: previous field school training.
  • ANTH 522: Archaeological Field School. Prerequisite: graduate student status.

Cost: Students will be charged tuition for 6 credits, and we will also charge a course fee of $1200 to cover transportation, food, and facilities. Tuition rates vary depending on the semester, resident or non-resident status, and graduate or undergraduate status. The current rates are published here:  

How to Apply: The application deadline for the summer 2021 program has passed. Please check again next spring for information and application instructions for the summer 2022 program!

Questions? Contact the project directors: Dr. Fumi Arakawa ( and Dr. Kelly Jenks (

Camping ground
Camping ground
Student in an excavation unit
Feature documentation
Artifact analysis
Ceramic fragments
Historic artifacts