The remote Valles Caldera, formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago, provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into human history.
Obsidian: people used this gleaming black rock for centuries to make arrowheads, knives, and other essential tools. On this expedition, you’ll help archaeologists investigate prehistoric obsidian quarries in New Mexico’s stunning and remote Valles Caldera National Preserve. Your work will help reveal how, exactly, past people used this natural resource and the land around it.
You’ll spend most of your days in Obsidian Valley, an intensely quiet, beautiful site that conveys a palpable sense of the ancient past. As the occasional eagle glides overhead, you and your team members will dig into the valley floor, then sift through the removed dirt to find artifacts. You’ll also help transport finds to the lab where you’ll organize and record them. For almost two weeks, you’ll live the life of an archaeologist.
To better inform your work, project scientists will tell you all you need to know about the recent and ancient cultural history of the Southwest, making and using stone tools, and the geology of the area. You’ll have an unparalleled opportunity to get to know the caldera, and your work will help build our understanding and appreciation of how people have enjoyed this landscape across the millennia.