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ARCHAEOLOGY OF TRAILS & THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF PLACE

Troy Lovata, lovata@unm.edu

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This is an interdisciplinary, experiential course that allows students a first-hand opportunity to study how culture plays out across the landscape through walking, hiking, backpacking, and camping. Students will gain an understanding of the diverse disciplines of Anthropology, Archaeology, and Cultural Geography as they examine trails and the artifacts that people create to navigate, claim, and mark their place on, and the ways they move across, the land. Students will walk, observe, and study prehistoric, historic, and modern recreational and utilitarian trails in the Albuquerque and over mountains across Central and Northern New Mexico. They will explore various aspects of trail building, use, and preservation. Students will also study the morphology and function of both formal and informal navigational aids and signs as well as learn the tools of maps, compasses, and geocaching. This course is an opportunity to study how a wide range of peoples have traveled, used, and marked the landscape in New Mexico and compare that to the world beyond.

Students will be required to participate in both in-class seminar discussions as well as campus and city tours during class time. Also required are one day-long hike/field trip; a one or two-day, weekend hike/field trip; and one three-day-two-night weekend backpacking hike outside normal class time. The day hike will be during a Friday in September. The longer trips will be over weekends in September or October and early November. This course requires students to to fully participate in out-of-classroom work and make explicit and meaningful connections between readings, seminar discussions, and field experiences.

READINGS AND TEXTS

“Basic Illustrated Map and Compass” by Cliff Jacobson

A reader with selections from the fields of Anthropology, Archeology, and Cultural Geography and a student workbook
with a series assignments and observational exercises; both available for purchase from Honors.

 

COURSE FEE 

$85 is required to cover some transportation costs to hikes and food during the overnight camp/hike.

 

STUDENT REQUIREMENTS

Grading will be based on seminar participation, a reading and walking journal, a series of field trip worksheets, and a research project entailing cultural mapping and analysis of information collected during several field trips.


Students will be required to participate in both in-class seminar discussions as well as campus and city tours during regularly scheduled class time.  Also required are Friday and weekend field trips from one to three days in lengths, including overnights camping. This is a three credit course with commensurate contact hours, so the required weekend work means we will not be meeting every week on campus during the scheduled class time. Students will be expected to provide their own camping gear (backpacks, tents, and sleeping gear are available for rent from UNM Recreational Sports or other places for a small fee). Students will also be expected to arrange transportation to some field trips as they do to regular classes on campus. A course fee of $85.00 is required to cover some transportation costs to hikes and food during the overnight camp/hike.


There are no specific prerequisites for this course. But because this course contains significant field components students must be physically able to travel to and walk across sites located outdoors. They also must be willing and able to spend significant amounts of time outside in a variety of weather conditions. Students are expected to wear suitable clothing, based on instructor recommendations, for such excursions.

 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS

Dr. Troy Lovata is a Professor in and Chair of the UNM Honors College, where he has taught courses on landscape, culture, and place for more than a dozen years. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelors in Anthropology from Colorado State University and earned Masters and Doctorate degrees in Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from The University of Texas. He is especially interested in how people from prehistory through the present conceive of and mark their landscape and the paths people etch on the land.