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The Taos Collaborative Archaeology Program (TCAP) was designed from the "ground up" to combine the distinctive teaching and scholarly strengths of two institutions with a long and distinguished history in anthropological and archaeological research and training: Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dallas, Texas; and Mercyhurst University (MU), Erie, Pennsylvania. TCAP unites the respective strengths of the collaborators in field archaeology and laboratory analyses, thereby offering the nation's strongest archaeological training opportunity to any student pursuing a career in anthropological archaeology and/or seeking future employment in the academic and public sectors. The emphasis on extensive hands-on training ensures that our students are thoroughly familiar with not only the substantive results of archaeological field research in the classroom, but also with the means via which these data have been acquired.

The field school, based at the SMU-In-Taos Fort Burgwin campus, Taos County, New Mexico, provides a remarkable venue for TCAP to pursue its mission in an ecologically diverse and geographically spectacular portion of the Greater American Southwest. Students are instructed in a broad variety of techniques employed in contemporary archaeological investigations through multiple course offerings with the emphasis on extensive hands-on training, supplemented by classroom, lecture, and colloquial instruction and laboratory work.

Students benefit from not only exposure to methodological precision with the latest generation of equipment but also the opportunity to interface intensively with scholars from both collaborative institutions who bring synergistic and complimentary research and teaching skills to the field training arena.


TCAP field schools are open to anyone 18 years of age and older as a registered student or volunteer. Courses are offered at undergraduate and graduate levels. See the respective field schools under Course Offerings. Class sizes are limited.

Volunteers are accepted on a conditional basis prioritized on the following criteria.
     • Academic Major (Anthropology/Archaeology).
     • First come, first "served."

Volunteers will be "bumped" from participation as the enrollment limit of each class is approached. Volunteers must complete the same application process as students planning to register for credit. Volunteers must pay the non-refundable course fee and purchase a meal plan (see Tuition, Costs, and Fees [below]).