CSUN Summer Archaeological Field Schools

Summer 2017

Cronise Basin Archaeological Field School
July 26-August 23, 2017
Application Deadline: March 17, 2017
View the flyer for additional  information (.pdf)

Conise Field School SurveyCalifornia State University, Northridge, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, is proud to announce our new summer Field School in Archaeology for 2017. The research area will be the Cronise Basin in the central Mojave Desert, which holds a remarkable record of human occupation stretching back thousands of years. During a brief interval around a thousand years ago, changing drainage and precipitation patterns created a stable lake environment that supported freshwater mussels, fish, turtles, and marsh vegetation in the now arid and windswept basins. This environment was utilized by native peoples, possibly including ancestral Puebloan peoples from the southwest, who were also mining turquoise at the nearby mines at Halloran Springs. This area may represent be the furthest extension of settlement by those peoples. Additionally, understanding the human ecological situation of these lake basins can allow us to better understand the kinds of radical changes to landscapes and environments that have characterized human occupation in Western North America since the Pleistocene.

We will be conducting initial reconnaissance survey to locate and record sites around these lake basins, as well as test excavations at several sites to recover baseline information on their chronology and evidence for the kinds of human activity that occurred there. Laboratory work will also be conducted with the recovered materials, and guest lectures by regional and analytical experts will provide a rich context for the students as they learn while investigating this remarkable area.

The base of operations for the Field School will be the Desert Studies Center at Zzyzx (operated by the California State University). Shared “bunkhouse” style rooms will be housing the crew and staff, and fully catered meals will be provided by the staff at the DSC. Please check out the website at:

This promises to be a fantastic opportunity for students to learn how to conduct archaeology in a modern, ethical and supportive learning environment, where the focus is on the education and investigation, rather than a more taxing situation with less infrastructural support. Conditions in the field will be beautiful (if a bit warm), and the fact that relatively little is known about the area means that we are likely to discover unexpected finds. The adventure awaits!