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Lower Pecos Canyonlands Archaeological Field School at Eagle Nest Canyon

Students at the Archaeological Field School around an earth ovenSummer 2015

Course Offering

ANTH 4630: Archaeological Field School

Summer 2015 CRN:  TBA

Join Dr. Stephen Black 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 rock shelters 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.

This season the field school will be focused on developing the essential research skills required in traditional "dirt" archaeology and in rock art archaeology.  Both avenues of field research, in the ground and on the walls, will take place in Eagle Nest Canyon.  This mile-long box canyon tributary of the Rio Grande near Langtry, Texas, houses several well-known sites, Bonfire Shelter and Eagle Cave.  The latter will be one of the main field sites along with others in and overlooking the canyon.

Rock artStudents Will Learn

• How to establish a research design and data collection protocols.

• Site survey and recording in the canyons and adjacent uplands.

• Field methods for documenting and sampling archaeological sites and deposits, including digital photography, 3D 
   mapping, laying out excavation units, hand excavation using arbitrary and natural layers, and stratigraphic profiling.

• Field methods for recording rock art, including digital photography, 3D mapping, digital photo enhancement,
   illustrations, and written inventories.

• Laboratory procedures, record-keeping, cataloging, and records curation for both excavation and rock art data.

• Students will be able to analyze rock art data in order to formulate and test hypotheses.

• Students will compare and contrast current theories regarding the meaning and function of the Lower Pecos rock art
   and the formation of the in-the-ground archaeological record.

• Students 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.

Cost of Program

Tuition: $1432.08 (6 credit hours)
Program Fees:  Amount TBA**  (Paid by students directly to SHUMLA)

**Students can apply for merit and need-based scholarships if accepted into the field school.  Scholarship applications are due to SHUMLA by:  Date TBA.

Applying for the Program

Instructor approval is required to participate in this program.  Enrollment is limited to 15 participants.

January 15 - February 1, 2013 the program is open only to currently enrolled Texas State students.  Subsequently it will be open to any qualified undergraduate until the course fills.

Students need to download and complete an Initial Application.  This initial application is to be scanned and emailed to the program director, Dr. Black at sblack@txstate.edu.

When students are approved by the program director, they will be notified via email, and will be directed to complete the Lower Pecos Canyonlands Study-in-America Application online and attach a signed General Release form, as well and any other required attachments requested on the application.  Once the second application has been processed, students will receive further instructions from the Office of Distance and Extended Learning on how to register and pay for the course.


Registering for Courses

Students register for academic courses through the Student Information System/Catsweb during regular University registration periods for Summer 2013, which begins March 25, 2013. 

NOTE:  Students that have been approved and have not registered by April 7, 2013, will be dropped from this program and their spot awarded to another participant.

Tuition is paid online through SBS Billing and Payment.

Students will find additional information about registering and paying for the academic course associated with this program on the Extension Course Application and Registration page or they can contact the Office of Distance and Extended Learning

This is done separately from paying the program fees.


Most days in June will be hot and dry, with lower humidity and less rain than San Marcos.  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 moring hourse.  Still, not for the faint-hearted.


Students will be staying at the SHUMLA campus for the duration of the course.  Lodging and all meals will be provided.

Payment Schedule

Total Cost of the program is "TBA." This cost includes the following:
      Tuition for six hours of undergraduate university credit:  $1,432.08
      Program Fees (lodging and meals): TBA

Students register and pay for the academic course through the Student Information System/Catsweb during regular University registration and billing periods for Summer 2013.

Program Fees are paid directly to SHUMLA by each student.  The program fee and Student Information Packet are due to SHUMLA by May 1, 2013.  Program fees submitted after May 1 must include an additional $100 late fee.


Refund Schedule

Students drop and receive refunds for the academic course according to the general University refund schedule for Summer 2013 classes.

SHUMLA Program Fee: 100% ($1200) until May 15; 50% ($600) May 16 - June 2.  No refunds after June 2, 2013.

Cancellation must be made in writing to the Office of Distance and Extended Learning.  As indicated above, participants may lose all or part of the total payment, depending on the date of cancellation.

SHUMLA Field SchoolAdditional Information

Dr. Stephen Black, Program Director - sblack@txstate.edu  - 512.245.7862
Background: www.texasbeyondhistory.net/pecos/ or www.texasbeyondhistory.net/bonfire/caretakers.html