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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 utilizes the exclusive capabilities of both institutions — SMU's unparalleled and pioneering expertise in community-based public outreach archaeology; and Mercyhurst's nationally recognized strengths in state-of-the-art excavation, documentation, and analytical protocols — to provide students with an unprecedented field training experience.

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. All courses include classroom, lecture, and colloquial instruction, as well as, laboratory and/or field 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.