2024 PCRG Summer Field Projects

We are excited to announce our slate of 2024 summer field projects! Applications will be posted in mid-April. Spots may be limited on some projects and priority will be given to PCRG members and order of application. PCRG members will receive an email notification when applications become available, you can become a PCRG member here.

Fieldwork Dates: June 4 – 13 (travel not included)
Location: Las Animas, Colorado
Project Type: Survey, Testing, Site Documentation
Description: In 2022, PCRG staff and volunteers embarked on a assessment survey of Chancellor Ranch, a 53,000-acre Colorado State Land Board parcel in central Las Animas County along the Purgatoire River. We identified over 40 archaeological sites including American Indian camp sites, lithic scatters, rock shelter habitations, and rock art, and more recent ranching complexes and settlements. This summer, with funding from the History Colorado State Historical Fund and the State Land Board, PCRG will begin a multi-year comprehensive and collaborative archaeological investigation of the property. During this first session, participants will work alongside PCRG staff, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) and Oklahoma State University professors and students, and History Colorado staff conducting archaeological survey, testing, and intensive site documentation. Fieldwork will include hiking up to 5 miles each day on survey, conducting limited testing (1 x 1-m excavation squares) at selected sites, and conducting intensive documentation of selected sites, including some of the larger historical ranch complexes. Participants will camp around residence on the property but will have limited access to the interior facilities. PCRG will provide portable toilets for participant use, along with establishing an outdoor shower system and will provide access to clean drinking water. Limited space may be available for smaller trailers and camper vans.

We are no longer accepting applications. Please check the status of projects later in the season.

Fieldwork Dates: June 22 – July 1 (travel not included)
Location: Las Animas County, Colorado
Project Type: Survey, Testing, and Site Documentation
Description: In 2022, PCRG staff and volunteers embarked on a assessment survey of Chancellor Ranch, a 53,000-acre Colorado State Land Board parcel in central Las Animas County along the Purgatoire River. We identified over 40 archaeological sites including American Indian camp sites, lithic scatters, rock shelter habitations, and rock art, and more recent ranching complexes and settlements. This summer, with funding from the History Colorado State Historical Fund and the State Land Board, PCRG will begin a multi-year comprehensive and collaborative archaeological investigation of the property.

The second session will continue work begun in Session 1. Participants will work alongside PCRG staff, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) and Oklahoma State University professors and students, and History Colorado staff conducting archaeological survey, testing, and intensive site documentation. Fieldwork will include hiking up to 5 miles each day on survey, conducting limited testing (1 x 1-m excavation squares) at selected sites, and conducting intensive documentation of selected sites, including some of the larger historical ranch complexes. Participants will camp around residence on the property but will have limited access to the interior facilities. PCRG will provide portable toilets for participant use, along with establishing an outdoor shower system and will provide access to clean drinking water. Limited space may be available for smaller trailers and camper vans.

We are no longer accepting applications. Please check the status of projects later in the season.

Fieldwork Dates: July 20 – 29 (travel not included)
Location: Las Animas County, Colorado
Project Type: Excavation
Description:

The third and final 2024 session at Chancellor Ranch will be excavation at a rock shelter recorded during the 2022 assessment project. The shelter has extensive burned rock and charcoal-stained sediment deposits across much of the surface and is likely to contain extensive buried cultural deposits. Fieldwork will include a moderate hike into a side canyon of the Purgatoire River, transporting field equipment to and from the site, and spending the workday at the rock shelter conducting excavation under the supervision of PCRG staff. Participants should expect temperatures to reach into the 90s most days; PCRG will establish shade shelters and have extra water if needed.

Participants will camp around residence on the property but will have limited access to the interior facilities. PCRG will provide portable toilets for participant use, along with establishing an outdoor shower system and will provide access to clean drinking water. Limited space may be available for smaller trailers and camper vans.

We have exceeded the number of available spots for this project and we are only accepting waitlist applications at this time. Please click below to learn more and fill out a waitlist application.

Waitlist Application Here

Fieldwork Dates: August 16 – 24 (travel not included)
Location: Routt National Forest, Grand County, CO
Project Type: Testing and Survey
Description: PCRG will return to the Windy Ridge quartzite quarry near Rabbit Ears Pass for our fourth and final field season of research at the site. Windy Ridge contains nearly 190 quarry pits along with an extensive scatter of quarry debris in surrounding workshops that span hundreds of acres. This season, crews will conduct testing at sites documented during the 2023 field season, which focused on areas south and east of the quarry. Crews may also conduct some limited survey in the same general area. Camp logistics are still TBD but participants should expect tent camping with limited space for small campers and camper vans. Participants should be prepared to hike 3-5 miles each day at an elevation of about 9,000 ft.

We have received a great deal of interest in this project and have reached capacity for applications. However, people often have to drop out of projects and we encourage you to fill out the waitlist application.

Fieldwork Dates: September 10-14 (travel not included)
Location: Comanche National Grasslands, Baca County, Colorado
Project Type: Survey and Testing
Description: More than 50 years ago, Colorado College students and faculty conducted a multi-year archaeological inventory and testing project in Picture Canyon and Holt Canyon, adjacent tributaries of the Cimarron River in southwestern Baca County, Colorado. Data from several of the sites they investigated have been important to the development of archaeological research in southeastern Colorado. However, the full results of the project have never been reported and site forms have been prepared for just 9 of the 22 sites they documented. Crucially, most of their excavation data remain unreported.

PCRG will revisit and re-record the sites documented by Colorado College to assess their current condition and to evaluate their potential for future research. These sites include rock shelters, lithic quarries, and stone features that likely were foundations for habitation structures. The field assessment will include small block surveys to confirm site locations and boundaries, along with limited testing at selected sites to assess the extent and integrity of subsurface cultural deposits. Participants should expect to hike 3-5 miles per day, mostly over moderate terrain, and should be prepared for daily temperatures in the 80s, possibly higher. Participants will camp around a Forest Service bunk house located approximately 20 miles from the project area.

We have received a great deal of interest in this project and have reached capacity for applications. However, people often have to drop out of projects and we encourage you to fill out the waitlist application.

Please click here to read important information prior to volunteering on a PCRG project. You can click here to learn more about what to expect when volunteering on a PCRG project.

PCRG membership is not required to participate in field projects but members do receive priority in the selection process. If you are not already a member and would like to be notified about project announcements please consider joining PCRG here. There is no cost to participate in a PCRG project.

Listed dates are the fieldwork dates and DO NOT INCLUDE TRAVEL. If participating in the entire project, plan to arrive the afternoon of the day prior to the fieldwork starts and depart the day after the fieldwork ends. For example, a project running June 14-18, you would arrive the afternoon of June 13 and leave the morning of June 19.

PCRG PARTNER PROJECTS

This year we are again partnering with Scott Dersam and his team for the Beartooth Ecosystems Alpine Archaeological Research (BEAAR) Project in the Beartooth Wilderness of Montana. More details will be posted soon. Please consider your own abilities prior to applying to this project.

BEAAR Project

Fieldwork Dates: Session 1: July 26th to 30th; Session 2: August 3rd to 22nd (applicants will need to commit to the duration of either session)
Location: Bridger and Beartooth Mountains, Montana
Project Type: Survey and Testing
Description: PCRG is pleased to again partner with Scott Dersam for the Beartooth Ecosystems Alpine Archaeological Research (BEAAR) project for the 2024 field season.

For the 2024 field season, the BEAAR project will host two separate field sessions. Session 1 (5 days) will be in the Bridger Mountains of Montana. Session 2  (20-day) session will be in and around the High Lakes region in the Beartooth Wilderness of Montana, with one shorter (5-day) session These high-elevation ecosystems represent two very different mountain environments; the Beartooth ecosystems are inundated with alpine lakes and whitebark pine groves between 9,000 and 11,000 feet above sea level, while the Bridgers is an isolated spine range, with hanging basins and sparse lake features. Both mountain ranges are part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and host evidence of ancient activity spanning the Holocene from ~10,000 calYBP in the Late Paleoindian to the contact period no more than 250 years ago, in addition to evidence of the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. For the 2024 season, we will be focusing on new site recordation and pedestrian survey, as well as revisiting previously recorded sites for further analysis and documentation. The 2024 field goals are to continue understanding the nature of alpine habitation and landscape use in the mountain ranges of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

More details about the project and each session can be found here. Volunteers should be prepared for hiking at high elevations and possibly inclement weather. Please consider your own abilities when applying for this project. Space is limited and not all applicants will be selected.

More details here. Please contact Scott Dersam with any questions and to apply for this project.

Health and Safety

All project volunteers and staff are required to be current on CDC recommended vaccinations, including DTAP (tetanus) and the Covid-19 vaccination. This not only helps to protect the project participants but also will protect the integrity of the project. We often come into contact with rusted metal and occasional cuts occur, being current on the DTAP/tetanus booster is necessary in this line of work.

PCRG projects involve communal gathering and often carpooling, we respectfully ask you to stay home if you are experiencing symptoms of illness prior to coming to the project.

PCRG has a comprehensive list of health and safety protocols to ensure the best experience of all participants. These are subject to change and some things, such as carpooling from camp to the project, will be determined on a project-by-project basis. Please contact Chris Johnston with any questions about the application process or our health and safety plan.

Join the PCRG Mailing List

Not a member but want to get notified of upcoming projects and events? You can sign up for our mailing list here, but please note, although membership is not required to participate in PCRG projects members do get priority when space is limited.