Colorado College put the “field” in “field trip” this year with a great selection of FYE courses that allowed students to discover the country. Freshman students in the ‘Cosmology and Place in the American Southwest’ FYE (PC122/AN209) had an amazing opportunity to get off campus and explore the natural and archaeological wonders of the American Southwest. Embarking on a six-day trek across New Mexico, students were able to study the historical and archeological significance of the cosmos to the Native American people while camping in a beautiful setting.           Twenty-one students left early on Sunday, Sept. 8 under the direction of professors Esteban Gomez and Dick Hilt. Throughout the week, students visited many significant environmental and archeological sites. These sites included Chimney Rock, Chaco Canyon, Aztec ruins, and the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum. At each of these sites, students were able to explore and analyze artifacts and geological wonders.

The trip partially focused on learning how to map geological areas and archeological sites. Students studied mapping techniques and learned how to map areas using both a traditional compass and a mobile device called a Trimble. These skills can have practical applications as well as academic purposes. By the end of the trip, students felt confident in using a compass to map their locations and surroundings, useful abilities in future outdoor endeavors. Required to keep a trip journal, students outlined their thoughts during the course of the trip and recorded archaeological findings,.

“I think the purpose of the trip was to gain a better understanding of the different perspectives from which people come from when they are looking at anthropology and archaeology in the Southwest. We were exposed to different interpretations of the past, and we got to see how each site had different natural significance to the native people,” reflected Brook Chambers, a first-year from Austin, Texas.

Students were able to hike almost everyday around the beautiful state of New Mexico, and developed a great class bond. While it rained most nights, putting a damper on the stargazing, students had a wonderful time in the great outdoors on this FYE trip.  This once-in-a-lifetime adventure was able to literally immerse students into the field of archaeology.

Photo Credits: Brook Chambers


Nila Horner

Guest Writer

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