Digging Dirt Together

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The Archaeology Field School at SMU-in-Taos has begun a unique education and research partnership with students and faculty from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, uniting two of the nation’s leading archaeology programs. The Taos Collaborative Archaeology Program joined 12 students from SMU with 16 from Mercyhurst at SMU’s Fort Burgwin campus in northern New Mexico.

“SMU is very strong in community-based archaeology and it has a top facility at which to study,” says Mercyhurst field director Judith Thomas. “We provide an intense, hands-on field archaeology experience using state-of-the art technology.”

The Mercyhurst group supplied a new remote sensing device that works in tandem with computer software to generate subsurface maps and better target excavation efforts.

The students excavated at the Ranchos de Taos plaza and in the homes and backyards of area residents, whose willingness to work with SMU students is a hallmark of the program. Students also took part in the annual re-mudding of the San Francisco de Asis church and recorded rock art near the Rio Grande Gorge.

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