Dig for clues into resource use, sustainability, and long-term impacts on ancient communities in the American Southwest.

Spectacular buildings known as great houses were constructed in Chaco Canyon in present-day northwest New Mexico between A.D. 800 and 1140. Collectively, these great houses were the densest concentration of the largest buildings found anywhere in the ancestral Pueblo world. The intricate Chaco regional system, a halo of Chaco influence spanning 250 miles in all directions, was likely based upon social power concentrated in the hands of the people who occupied the great houses in Chaco Canyon. Although the exact nature of this power is not well understood, it was most likely derived from control over material and ideological resources such as labor, farmland, water resources, material goods (including exotic goods), and ritual knowledge.

You’ll join a group of archaeologists at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, located in Cortez, Colorado, to take part in hands-on archaeological fieldwork by excavating great houses on a site located on nearby private land. When you’re not excavating, doing lab work, or learning about archaeology, you’ll enjoy the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. You’ll explore restaurants and museums as well as sites such as Hovenweep National Monument, the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and Mesa Verde National Park.

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Cortez, Colorado, USA


$3695 | $5495*

Includes all accommodation, meals, transfers, insurance and research activities


7 or 14* days


Update October 15 2021: As overseas travel restrictions and covid requirements are not fully finalised, our overseas expeditions are not yet back on sale from Australia. We appreciate that people are as keen as we are to travel and we will facilitate these amazing experiences again as soon as possible. In the meantime, please refer to our Australian experiences.

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Lead Scientist

Susan Ryan