Dear visitor, colleague, or prospective student:
Blackwater Draw is a unique and valuable resource for the Department of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology, as well as for disciplines like geology, biology, and environmental sciences. Students and faculty representing these areas gain opportunities for hands-on teaching, research, and involvement as volunteers, interns, and employees.
As an archaeological anthropologist training my future colleagues and teaching the fundamentals of the discipline to the greater academic and public communities, having access to the Clovis type-site, which functions as both an active excavation and an archaeological museum, has surpassed my wildest expectations of what a hands-on learning environment could be. Thus far, I have had the opportunity to conduct my coursework in Geoarchaeology, Field Research Methods, Applications in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Introduction to Archaeology on location at the site, which is only a 10 minute drive from the main ENMU campus. New courses are also being developed in which I and my fellow faculty incorporate onsite lessons at Blackwater Draw and utilize the collections excavated from the site. Classes under development include Lithic Artifact Analysis, Museum Studies, Methods in Field Curation, Advanced Geoarchaeological Methods, and the Archaeology of Environmental Change.
Our access to the site and its collections provides countless opportunities for semi-independent student research, resulting in both undergraduate Directed Studies and master’s-level projects. For example, two current master’s-level projects include a morphological and technological analysis of early–late Paleoindian projectile points from the site, which examines change in early stone-tool use through time, and a geoarchaeological assessment of late Pleistocene-early Holocene drainage patterns, which explores the effects of the Younger-Dryas cold snap on the local paleoenvironment. The success of our students at ENMU is due in large part to a faculty that is active in research; this provides opportunities to incorporate students into our ongoing and new projects.
As an archaeologist, my work investigates how humans living on the American continents at the end of the last Ice Age adapted to late Pleistocene–early Holocene environmental change by altering their stone-tool technology and moving across the landscape. As such, the Blackwater Draw site is fundamental to my research. To address these questions, I am continuing my investigations into the geographic spread and morphological and technological development of fluted projectile point technology using Blackwater Draw’s fluted-point collections. This project enables me to provide students with experience using lithic technological analysis, 2D and 3D imaging, and geometric morphometrics analysis.
I cannot overstate how lucky we are to have Blackwater Draw as a classroom, a research opportunity, and a piece of human history to protect. As a result, we are able to provide an education in archaeology, not to mention geology and biology, which is unlike anything else across the country. I encourage you to contact us with any questions you have and invite you to join us as we learn about and study the archaeology of Blackwater Draw at Eastern New Mexico University.
-Heather Smith, Ph.D.