Field Camp

A new exhibit at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, "Chaco Uncovered: The Field Schools 1929 to the Present" will open on Wednesday, Feb. 9 with a gallery talk and reception from 5 to 7 p.m.  The gallery talk will be by National Park Service archaeologist Joan Mathien and curators Catherine Baudoin and Wendy Bustard will be held at the Hibben Center, just south of the museum.

In 1929, the first field school from the University of New Mexico set out to Chaco Canyon on an archaeological project that would continue to this day. "Chaco Uncovered: The Field Schools 1929 to the Present" is a visual history of the collaboration between the University of New Mexico and the National Park Service at what is now Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Photos from the 1930s through the 1940s give a rare glimpse into the world of the early field schools. These photographs, taken by field school students, document both the excavations and camp life.

The partnership between these two institutions dates back to the designation of Chaco Canyon as a national monument in 1906. While the National Park Service has been responsible for managing Chaco Culture National Historical Park, much of the early archaeological research in Chaco Canyon was done under the auspices of University of New Mexico Department of Anthropology and archived in the collections at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology.

UNM ran advanced archaeological field schools from 1929 to 1942, with one final post-war session in 1947. Several UNM students went on to careers in the National Park Service, continuing to work in Chaco Canyon, and resulting in the joint 1970-1985 Chaco Project.

In 2006, UNM Professors W. H. Wills and Patricia L. Crown began a new phase in the evolving UNM-Chaco relationship. Over a series of summer and fall field seasons, Wills and Crown re-excavated trenches dug in the 1920s during the National Geographic Society's Pueblo Bonito Expedition.

Like the early field school sessions, the recent field schools have involved students from UNM and universities across the country.

For more information, contact Mary Beth Hermans (505) 277-1400 or