Nancy Patterson Field School 2011

This summer I participated in my first archaeology field school through Cal State Dominguez Hills. We spent 3 weeks in and around Blanding, Utah excavating at the Nancy Patterson Site, and field-tripping to nearby ruins and national parks. Our research was focused on the ancient pueblo inhabitants (referred to by many as “Anasazi”).

The Nancy Patterson Site is located approximately 30 miles from Blanding, and includes the Nancy Patterson Butte and the Nancy Patterson Village below it, as well as nearby Spirit Bird Cave.

Left: Southern view overlooking Nancy Patterson Village from the Butte.

Below: (1)Spirit Bird Cave (Overlooks Nancy Patterson Site);
(2)the “Rock Room” post rock removal

Digging for the first time was really a great experience. I knew it would be a lot of hard grunt work (which it most definitely was-hauling rocks and dirt in the blazing sun), but the excitement that comes from finding the tiniest clue to who lived here made it all feel completely worthwhile. (I highly recommend to anyone considering archaeology as a career, try some field work first-it can be quite demanding physically).

Erica Digging a test profile in the “Rock Room”


Laura and Anna mending pottery


Laura taking a well deserved break.



We were fortunate enough to have an instructor (Daniel Cutrone) who not only supervised in the site, but also took us on several field trips around the Four Corners Region, to help us better understand the Anasazi as a culture. Our first weekend , we were fortunate to be allowed to view the Hop i Angak’china (Long-Hair) dance. This dance is for the purpose of calling rain to the crops. We were also able to spend some time at the Butler Wash Ballroom Cave ruins.

Left: Our instructor Daniel Cutrone at Three-Kiva Pueblo.


Artifacts from the Nancy Patterson Site can be viewed at the Edge of the Cedars State Park, in Blanding, Utah.


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